Washington passed a law in 2019 allowing citizens to compost themselves after death for a more sustainable burial process. Fast forward a year later and the first human composting company is open for business in the state.
Called Recompose, the company was instrumental in passing the 2019 law and is certified to break your body down into organic compost. It does this by sealing a body into a capsule with plant matter which organically breaks down the body over time to create a cubic meter of compost. As we explained in 2019, the process of turning human remains into soil works similarly to the way farmers dispose of dead animals: using wood chips, straw, and sawdust to create the perfect conditions for decomposition.
So what happens to this human compost? Well, it can either be donated to the state’s Bells Mountain nature reserve or returned to your next of kin. Ana Swenson, Recompose’s communication manager, told Gizmodo that 350 people have already prepaid for Recompose’s human compost services.
The concept is certainly growing in popularity in the state. Two other companies, Herland Forest and Return Home, have also been licensed to operate, although they are not yet open.
If you’re wondering why people would choose human composting, it turns out it’s much more sustainable. The US buries an estimated 5.3 million gallons of embalming fluid each year, which is toxic to the natural environment. Although cremation removes this factor, each cremation emits about as much as a 500-mile car drive.
Washington, Colorado, and Oregon are among the states allowing the practice, and we will likely see other states follow suit as more people embrace this regenerative, sustainable approach to burial.
And it isn’t this particular approach, it could be a different green alternative like this mycelium coffin, which we recently wrote about.