Published On: Wed, May 22nd, 2019

Washington Becomes The First U.S. State To Legalize Human Composting

A worker holds finished compost at the Jepson Prairie Organics compost facility.

According to the Seattle Times, Washington became the first state to legalize human composting on Tuesday when governor Jay Inslee signed SB 5001, a bill that would recognize “natural organic reduction” as a legal way to dispose of bodies.

The process in question works similarly to composting in that a human body is placed in a container with other organic components, such as straw and wood, where it decomposes naturally over the span of about four weeks. The method provides an alternative to cremation and burial, which often involve a combination of embalming, caskets or headstones.

The organic reduction process is much slower but also less carbon-intensive, allowing a body to decompose into clean, odorless soil in a matter of weeks.

The law provides the opportunity for projects such as Recompose, whose goal is to build the first urban “organic reduction” funeral home in the country, to take shape. Recompose would use a crematorium model to dispose of human bodies but utilizing composting methods.

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Washington Becomes The First U.S. State To Legalize Human Composting