Washington becomes the first state to legalize composting of humans

Washington has become the first state in the nation to pass a law allowing composting as an alternative to burial or cremation of human remains.Gov. J...

Posted: May 22, 2019 8:43 AM
Updated: May 22, 2019 11:15 AM

Washington has become the first state in the nation to pass a law allowing composting as an alternative to burial or cremation of human remains.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Tuesday legalizing human composting. The bill will go into effect in May next year.

Currently in Washington, bodies can either be cremated or buried. The process of recomposition provides a third option that speeds up the process of turning dead bodies into soil, a practice colloquially known as 'human composting.' The bill describes the process as a 'contained, accelerated conversion of human remains to soil.'

The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Jamie Pedersen, said it is an environmentally friendly way of disposing of human remains.

'It's about time we apply some technology, allow some technology to be applied to this universal human experience ... because we think that people should have the freedom to determine for themselves how they'd like their body to be disposed of,' he said.

How human composting works

Katrina Spade, CEO of the human composting company, Recompose, explained the process of turning a dead body into soil to CNN affiliate KIRO.

'(The) body is covered in natural materials, like straw or wood chips, and over the course of about three to seven weeks, thanks to microbial activity, it breaks down into soil,' she said.

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While the body is being broken down, she said, families of the deceased can visit the facility and will ultimately receive the soil that remains. It's up to the family to determine how they want to use that soil.

The process was the focus of a study at Washington State University in which six people donated their bodies for research, KIRO reported.

'We proved recomposition was indeed safe and effective for humans as well,' Spade said.

The average burial can cost between $8,000 and $25,000. Cremation can top $6,000. Spade told the affiliate she hopes to charge about $5,500 for human composting.

Human composting supporter Leslie Christian told the affiliate it's an attractive option from an environmental perspective. She said a lot of people approve of the process, including her brother, who told her he wants his soil to be used to plant tomatoes.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 658043

Reported Deaths: 12467
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion902221628
Lake48163871
Allen35614632
Hamilton31884394
St. Joseph29615510
Elkhart25291412
Vanderburgh21148377
Tippecanoe19815197
Johnson16262353
Porter15867268
Hendricks15744297
Clark11860179
Madison11688315
Vigo11520228
Monroe10267158
Delaware9800178
LaPorte9725194
Howard9024194
Kosciusko8519107
Bartholomew7394147
Warrick7380147
Hancock7379128
Floyd7149165
Wayne6597189
Grant6406157
Morgan6044124
Boone604188
Dubois5876111
Dearborn541266
Henry539892
Marshall5397104
Cass538999
Noble507575
Jackson462663
Shelby458890
Lawrence4161111
Gibson400581
Harrison395960
Clinton393353
DeKalb382878
Montgomery382883
Miami355163
Knox354484
Whitley347235
Huntington339276
Steuben336355
Wabash329575
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Jasper313643
White295651
Jefferson293270
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Greene260278
Posey260031
Wells256074
Scott248947
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Clay239444
Randolph225076
Spencer216130
Jennings214044
Washington208727
Sullivan202239
Fountain200641
Starke186450
Owen181652
Fulton177437
Jay177328
Carroll175718
Perry172635
Orange170450
Rush164222
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Franklin158435
Tipton145641
Parke138415
Pike127232
Blackford120327
Pulaski106243
Newton96431
Brown94839
Benton91213
Crawford90113
Martin80014
Switzerland7527
Warren74712
Union66810
Ohio52811
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 959995

Reported Deaths: 17045
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1111071193
Cuyahoga945941709
Hamilton72643947
Montgomery46983875
Summit39720942
Butler35094460
Lucas34829757
Stark29061835
Warren22166270
Lorain21781386
Mahoning19282537
Lake18210300
Clermont18200206
Delaware16289129
Licking14832197
Fairfield14401156
Trumbull14171455
Greene13481211
Medina13220219
Clark12139333
Wood11411193
Portage10870153
Allen10715232
Richland10184205
Miami9954179
Columbiana8052179
Muskingum8046123
Tuscarawas7984235
Pickaway796798
Marion7944135
Wayne7799217
Erie6803183
Ross6083136
Geauga5996129
Hancock5945110
Scioto5886105
Ashtabula5884143
Lawrence520373
Union506552
Darke5013122
Belmont483987
Sandusky473393
Jefferson4726107
Huron4722117
Seneca4624103
Athens457331
Mercer4570101
Auglaize454498
Washington452186
Shelby439167
Knox398584
Putnam3967101
Madison389147
Ashland375495
Fulton375364
Defiance3682102
Brown367842
Crawford355396
Preble351070
Logan350158
Clinton336862
Highland324455
Ottawa319667
Williams299777
Jackson287756
Guernsey284034
Champaign283145
Fayette266343
Perry265943
Morrow257224
Henry243665
Holmes2420104
Hardin241957
Coshocton230847
Van Wert227849
Gallia219846
Adams213732
Pike212825
Wyandot207952
Hocking192248
Carroll178928
Paulding158023
Meigs133836
Noble128142
Monroe115336
Morgan99734
Harrison99632
Vinton76515
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