New: On May 21st, 2019, Washington State became the first state to allow human composting when Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill that permits the process into law.
If you live in Washington State you may soon have a new option when it comes to the final disposition of your body—human composting.
On February 6th, 2019 the Washington State Senate advanced a bill that would permit the option of placing unembalmed human remains in a specially designed container that would speed up the decomposition and return the remains to human compost.
“I will make the claim that this bill may change the world,” said the bill’s main sponsor, Sen. Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle), on the Senate floor Feb. 6. “What I think is remarkable is that this universal human experience of death remains almost untouched by technology, and in fact, the only two methods for disposition of human remains that are authorized in our statutes are methods that have been with us for thousands of years: Burying a body or burning a body.”
The bill would change that by adding the option to naturally turn a body into soil with the help of other organic materials. Proponents initially referred to that process as “recomposition,” but that has since been amended in the bill to the term “natural organic reduction.” (Inlander, Feb 13, 2019)
In addition to allowing for “human composting,” the bill would make the process of alkaline hydrolysis legal. Alkaline hydrolysis (also referred to as bio cremation) is a process that is already legal in 16 states. It uses a chemical process to reduce the remains to a material similar to cremation ash.
Learn More about Human Composting
- Why Human Composting Might be the Green Alternative to Conventional Burials. Pacific Standard, 1/17/2019.
- About Recompose, the company behind Human Composting
- A New Way to Dispose of Corpses—With Chemistry. Wired, 3/27/2018.
- Washington May Become First State to Legalize Human Composting. Geek.com, 1/4/2019.