In recent weeks I was asked if I had ever heard of ‘human composting’…well, I had not only ever heard of it, I couldn’t imagine it. As it definitely caught my interest… I began to do a little research on the subject. As most of us know, when we get to the end of our life we have options, as to what we want done with our bodies after death; standard burial, cremation, and now the latest (newest) way to dispose of human remains, human composting.
The definition of human composting is quite simple; it is a form of decomposition of the human body, which is placed in a special vessel with alfalfa, straw and woodchips for 30 days; this is then accelerated by pumping oxygen inside (the vessel) in order to increase thermophilic, or heat-loving, microbial activity. After the 30 days, the remains are then placed into a ‘curing bin’ in which the soil is allowed to rest, while exhaling carbon monoxide for a few more weeks. The process is proven to be safe and effective for removing pathogens; also referred to as NOR (natural organic reduction), not to mention being environmentally friendly. Once the total process has completed, the family is given the choice to take the soil with them or donate it to an ecological restoration project, such as ‘Bells Mountain’ near Vancouver, Washington.
After doing much reading on the subject, I found myself considering this particular process verses cremation; which I originally thought about. Traditional funerals and burials have become outrageously priced today, costing families thousands of dollars. With that in mind, many have been considering cremation, as costs aren’t as high and services can be a bit more private. Standard cremation releases a certain amount of toxins (carbon-intensive) in the air…but with human composting you don’t have that, it’s a soil-based cremation and is fueled by plant materials as well oxygen. It is an extremely controlled process driven by microbes, and is monitored at all times.
Washington has been the first state to offer human composting, while Colorado being the second and Oregon the third, with others soon to follow; California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, and Vermont. The Seattle Times had an article which was posted on Jan.22, 2021 and was not only informative but tastefully written; https://www.seattletimes.com/life/recompose-the-first-human-compositing-funeral-home-in-the-u-s-is-now-open-for-business/ . There’s an abundance of information on the web when it comes to this subject, and its research has been done well over the past decade. I strongly urge you to read up on this ‘newest and latest’ service being offered at the end of life, as this truly could help our planet; The pricing is comparable to cremation, but is more transparent than any other service, allowing you to see up front the costs of every step, from picking up the body until its completion (soil); you’re actually allowed to stop in and visit during the process or there’s an available video I believe one may view which allows streaming in actual time. Either way, this process is not only environmentally better for our world, but returning to nature as it should be…God knows between wild fires, floods and storm damages, it will take good soil to bring back life to parts of this earth; why not consider being a part this project…it’s similar to being an organ donor … just food for thought.
Make your life count.