You Can Now Compost Human Bodies in This U.S. State | NowThis

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Published at : 09 Feb 2021
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Washington just became the first to legalize human composting.
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Washington state legalized human composting meaning human remains can be broken down into soil.

Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) signed a bipartisan bill on May 21, 2019 making Washington the first state to legalize human composting. It recognizes ‘natural organic reduction,’ or disposing of human bodies by breaking them down into soil The human body disposal method is considered an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional burial and cremation. According to AP, the legislation was inspired by Seattle-based company Recompose.

The company founded by Katrina Spade uses human composting as a green model for death care in urban environments. The method was tested at Washington State Univ.’s soil science dept in summer 2018

Katrina Spade, Founder, Recompose: 'We successfully recomposed six human donors to prove that this is a safe and effective method of disposition'

In Nov 2018, Spade talked with NowThis about her company’s genesis

Katrina Spade, Founder, Recompose: 'While I was doing all the research around the funeral industry I found out about natural burial, which is a beautiful option where bodies are wrapped and usually a shroud or a pine box and buried in the forest or the meadow or some sort of conservation land. And I thought god that's perfect that's what I was and then thinking about the fact that a, I love living in cities and um — I grew up in rural New Hampshire but like I love my cities and b, that there probably isn't enough land for everyone in our cities to be buried outside of the city in a natural burial. I sort to think well what would the urban equivalent be of a natural burial. '

Recompose’s method involves placing human remains in individual ‘vessels’ where they are converted into soil.

Katrina Spade, Founder, Recompose: 'We put wood chips, alfalfa, and straw and we lay a body onto a bed of that mixture and cover it with more of the same. And then over the span of 30 days, we aerate. So we're providing oxygen and essentially creating the perfect environment for beneficial microbial activity to occur. So in that span of 30 days, the body breaks down, including bones and teeth, and the resultant material is this beautiful soil that you can use to grow a tree or nurture a garden'

According to Recompose, human composting reduces CO2 emissions, minimizes land usage, and prevents groundwater pollution unlike traditional methods of death care. The method is similar to how livestock are recycled on farms.

#Washington #Compost #Composting

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