Isn’t it weird that humanity has advanced so far when it comes to technology, and yet, we have only two options for disposing of human bodies after death? There’s a traditional burial, which requires wood and steel and means leaking dangerous chemicals into the ground, and cremation, which both burns energy and emits carbon in the process. Even though we may not like to think about disposing of the dead, there has to be a better solution—at least, for the sake of the environment. That is the thinking in Washington state where the legislature passed a bill last week that would make it the first state in the nation to legalize composting human remains as a burial alternative. So, how does human composting even work? A company that specializes in human composting turns human remains into soil in a similar fashion to how farmers dispose of dead animals: using wood chips, straw, and sawdust to create the right conditions for decomposition. In about a month’s time, the remains turn into soil, which the family may use however they wish. Human composting is far more eco-friendly than burial and cremation and could be particularly useful in urban areas, where America has been short on grave space for some time. Before the bill goes into effect, Washington governor (and presidential hopeful) Jay Inslee has to sign the bill, which is likely considering he is running in the 2020 elections as a “climate candidate.”

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