Beyond Green Burial

Human Composting at the End of Life




A3pfamily/Shutterstock.com

Washington has become the first state to make it legal to compost human remains. A bill, signed this month by Governor Jay Inslee, allows the process, called natural organic reduction, as well as another called water cremation. Human composting involves placing a body in a tubular vessel and covering it with natural materials like wood chips and straw. Over several weeks, microbial activity breaks down the body into about a cubic yard of soil. Recompose, a company that wants to offer the practice as an alternative to traditional methods, worked with Washington State University to test its safety for environmental and human health. Six people donated their bodies for the study. The method alleviates much of the carbon footprint associated with both cremation and traditional casket burial.


This article appears in the May 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Feeding Healthy Habits

Today’s barrage of junk food ads can easily influence kids for the worse, but 10 strategies, including visiting farmers’ markets, teaching cooking skills and implementing device-free family meals, can help them choose to eat better.

Beyond Sustainability

Farmers are increasingly exploring inexpensive organic methods to return microbial diversity to the soil, which could help mitigate a warming planet by allowing soil to absorb more carbon.

Aysha Akhtar on Our Symphony With Animals

Through her personal story as a survivor of childhood abuse and the stories of others, the neurologist demonstrates the scientific bond between animals and humans—and how they can heal each other.

Take It Easy on the Eggs

Eating three to four eggs a week increases heart disease mortality by 6 percent and all-cause mortality by 8 percent, a new study found.

Savor Cherries to Lower Metabolic Syndrome Risk

Montmorency tart cherries in juice or capsules lower systolic blood pressure and insulin levels within hours, reducing factors that lead to metabolic syndrome.

Add your comment: