The Science Behind Human Composting: Understanding the Fate of Bones

The Revolutionary Process of Human Composting: What Happens to Bones?

As humanity progresses towards more sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives, a groundbreaking concept has emerged in the realm of funeral practices – human composting. This innovative technique offers an environmentally conscious way to return our bodies to nature after death. But what exactly happens to our bones during this natural decomposition process? In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of human composting and explore the fate of bones within this unique system.

Understanding Human Composting

Human composting is an organic and earth-friendly method that transforms deceased bodies into nutrient-rich soil. The process harnesses the power of microorganisms, heat, and oxygen to facilitate natural decay and decomposition. It involves placing the body in a specially designed vessel or container filled with organic materials such as wood chips, straw, or sawdust.

The Role of Microorganisms

Microorganisms play a critical role in human composting by breaking down complex organic matter through their metabolic activities. These microscopic organisms thrive on carbon-rich sources like dead tissue and help accelerate decomposition within the composting environment. As they consume soft tissues present in the body, they gradually reduce it to simpler compounds.

The Breakdown of Soft Tissues

During human composting, soft tissues including muscles, organs, skin, ligaments, tendons quickly decompose due to bacterial activity triggered by environmental conditions within the vessel. The warmth generated by microbial activity aids in rapidly breaking down these softer components.

Bone Transformation:

Osteoclasts at Work

Bones are made up primarily of calcium phosphate minerals which provide strength and rigidity throughout life; however, their composition makes them resistant to decomposition. While soft tissues undergo a relatively swift breakdown, bones require more time and specific conditions for transformation.

Inside the composting vessel, osteoclasts – specialized cells responsible for bone remodeling – begin their crucial work. These cells dissolve the mineralized bone matrix through a process called resorption. This gradual dissolution allows nutrients from bones to become part of the surrounding soil mixture.

The Importance of Time

Bone transformation is not an immediate occurrence within human composting but is influenced by various factors such as temperature, moisture levels, oxygen availability, and duration of the composting process. Over time, bones become progressively porous and brittle due to continuous exposure to microorganisms present in the environment.

Final Stages

After several months or even up to a year in some cases, what remains are fragments of dry bones that crumble upon touch. At this stage, they have been transformed into a form referred to as “bone meal” or “human ash.” The resulting material possesses rich nutritional value due to its high calcium content and can be utilized as beneficial fertilizer or soil amendment in gardening or land restoration projects.

The Environmental Impact:

The practice of human composting offers numerous environmental benefits compared to traditional burial techniques or cremation. By opting for natural decomposition through this innovative method:

Promoting Sustainability

  • – No embalming fluids (which often contain harmful chemicals) are used during human composting processes.
  • – It eliminates the need for large areas devoted exclusively to cemeteries while facilitating land conservation efforts.

Reducing Carbon Emissions

  • – Human composting emits significantly fewer greenhouse gases compared to cremation.
  • – It minimizes the energy consumption associated with traditional burial practices, such as manufacturing coffins or headstones.

Nurturing the Environment

  • – The resulting nutrient-rich soil from human composting can support sustainable agriculture and contribute to ecosystem restoration initiatives.
  • – This process helps create a cycle of life by returning essential minerals back into nature’s web, fostering biodiversity and natural resilience.


The advent of human composting has paved the way for an innovative approach to honoring our loved ones while embracing sustainability. Throughout this remarkable process, bones undergo gradual transformation through the combined efforts of microorganisms and specialized cells. As we prioritize environmental responsibility in all aspects of life, human composting emerges as a transformative alternative that integrates death seamlessly into nature’s timeless cycle.

By choosing this method, not only do we ensure minimal environmental impact but also contribute to nurturing a greener future for generations to come. Let us embrace this modern perspective on death care and be part of a compassionate movement towards harmony between humans and our planet!