Leslie Christian, who is a human composting supporter, said this is an attractive opportunity when you look at it from an environmental perspective.
Composting human beings is an alternative to burying or cremating them and Washington has become the first state in the nation to pass a law to legalize this. A bill was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday to legalize human composting and it's been understood that the bill will go into effect from May next year. In Washington, bodies can either be cremated or burned currently. Recomposition is a third option where a dead body can quickly turn into soil, and it's known as 'human composting' in simpler terms. According to CNN, the bill describes the process as a "contained, accelerated conversion of human remains to the soil."
According to state Sen. Jamie Pedersen, who is the bill's sponsor, this is actually an environmentally friendly way to dispose of human remains. "It's about time we apply some technology, allow some technology to be applied to this universal human experience ... because we think that people should have the freedom to determine for themselves how they'd like their body to be disposed of," he said.
This brings us to the question: how exactly does human composting work? Katrina Spade, CEO of the human composting company, Recompose, explained the process of turning a dead body into soil. "(The) body is covered in natural materials, like straw or wood chips, and over the course of about three to seven weeks, thanks to microbial activity, it breaks down into soil," she said.
She issued a statement on the website: Washington is leading the way by being the first state to offer the death care choice of natural organic reduction to gently convert human remains into soil. At Recompose, we could not be more proud of our broad community for supporting the creation of this new service and for our state’s political leaders who really rolled up their sleeves to create a new regulatory framework that ensures we will all have a safe, scientifically-rigorous and environmentally sustainable new death care choice.
As we turn our attention at Recompose to raising investment capital and sharing information with prospective customers, we are thankful for the outpouring of public interest and support for recomposition. We look forward to sharing updates as they occur. A press release also mentioned the finer details involved in the process: Natural organic reduction with the Recompose System offers an additional choice for after-death care that is natural and sustainable.
With significant savings in carbon emissions and land usage, it addresses increasing demand for green alternatives: Recomposition uses 1/8 the energy of cremation and saves over a metric ton of CO2 per person If every WA resident chose recomposition as their after-death preference, we would save over a 1/2 million metric tons of CO2 in just 10 years. That’s the equivalent of the energy required to power 54,000 homes for a year. There are quite a lot of benefits if you opt for human composting!
When a body is being broken down, Spade mentions that the family can visit the facility, and will also be given the soil that remains once the body has been decomposed completely. It then depends on the family as to what they wish to do with the soil. Apparently, the process of human composting was the focus of the study at Washington State University and six people had donated their bodies for research.
"We proved recomposition was indeed safe and effective for humans as well," Spade said. For the process, the average burial can cost anywhere between $8,000 and $25,000. If you opt for cremation, then it can cost you around $6,000. Spade hopes to charge about $5,500 for human composting. Leslie Christian, who is a human composting supporter, said this is an attractive opportunity when you look at it from an environmental perspective.
According to her, a lot of people are interested in this process and they want to know more about it, including her brother, who wants her to grow tomatoes from the soil after he's decomposed. It is a new method, especially in the U.S., but there is a certain satisfaction in knowing that even after your death, you will be there in the ground, with roots coming out of it for a new life!