Today’s Solutions: August 11, 2022

Despite the expenses and environmental problems that come with burying the dead in urban areas, most people still want their final resting place to be close to where they lived most of their life. But fulfilling that desire in cities is becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible. Take Hong Kong’s public columbariums, for example.

These facilities, which store urns of cremated remains, have an average wait time of four years and are at maximum capacity. To address these challenges, alternative green burials are emerging. One approach that’s picking up steam is “human composting,” which uses microbes to efficiently break down corpses into the soil.

This summer, Washington State became the first to legalize the process, and the Seattle-based company Recompose (previously known as the Urban Death Project) plans to open a human composting facility by early 2021. By placing a corpse into a mixture of wood chips, weeds, straws, and grains, researchers have been able to decompose the body into the soil.

According to Recompose, choosing human composting instead of traditional burial or cremation saves one metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions. The company says that family members would be allowed to take home approximately one cubic yard of soil produced by the process or donate it to the facility’s gardens. So rather than burying the dead in coffins made of harmful metals, plastics, and coatings, human composting allows a corpse to become soil that could be used to grow trees or plants in the city.

At a time where cities are pressed for space, this seems to be the sensible option of the future

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

VR tech helps international team of surgeons separate twins with fused brains

In miraculous medical news, virtual reality (VR) has helped surgeons successfully separate conjoined twins with craniopagus. Craniopagus describes a condition where twins are born with fused brains. It is an incredibly rare condition, and—this probably ... Read More

Could “antivitamins” be the cure to antibiotic resistance?

The first naturally-occurring bacteria killer, penicillin, was discovered nearly a century ago and with it came the advent of a new class of medicines: antibiotics. Bacterial infections were the leading cause of death at the ... Read More

Rare yellow penguin is mystifying biologists

In December 2019, Belgian wildlife photographer Yves Adams had an exceptional stroke of luck while on a remote island in South Georgia. Adams was leading a two-month photography expedition through the South Atlantic and had ... Read More

This radio station plays ethereal ambient music made by trees

Silent tree activity, like photosynthesis and the absorption and evaporation of water, produces a small voltage in the leaves. In a bid to encourage people to think more carefully about their local tree canopy, sound ... Read More