What States Have Legalized Human Composting?
In recent years, the idea of human composting as an alternative to traditional burial or cremation has gained traction. This eco-friendly and sustainable process allows human remains to be transformed into nutrient-rich soil, which can then be used for plant growth. While it may sound like a futuristic concept, several states in the United States have already legalized human composting as a viable end-of-life option. Let’s explore these pioneering states and their regulations surrounding this innovative practice.
Oregon became the first state in the nation to legalize human composting with the passage of Senate Bill 227 on July 1st, 2020. This legislation permits funeral homes and other licensed facilities to offer natural organic reduction (NOR), also known as human composting, as an approved method for disposition of remains.
Following closely behind Oregon, Washington passed Senate Bill 5001 in April 2019 legalizing natural organic reduction for humans. The bill took effect on May 1st, allowing individuals within Washington State to choose this environmentally conscious means of final disposition.
In June 2020, Colorado joined the ranks by legalizing both alkaline hydrolysis (also known as water cremation) and natural organic reduction through House Bill 20-1048. This groundbreaking legislation offers Coloradans greater freedom when deciding how they want their remains handled after death.
The Golden State followed suit by passing Assembly Bill AB-2592 in September 2020. By including human composting among approved methods for disposition of bodies within California’s Health and Safety Code Section 7105(a)(13), residents now have more choices when planning for end-of-life arrangements.
Other States Exploring Legalization
While the above states have taken concrete steps towards legalizing human composting, other states are actively considering similar legislation. States such as New York, Illinois, and Minnesota have introduced bills that would allow for the practice of natural organic reduction. As public awareness and acceptance of sustainable burial alternatives continue to grow, it is likely that more states will follow suit in the coming years.
The Benefits of Human Composting
Human composting offers numerous benefits both for individuals and the environment:
Choosing human composting over traditional burials or cremations significantly reduces carbon emissions and conserves valuable land resources. It promotes a circular approach to life by returning nutrients to the Earth instead of depleting them.
Natural Transformation Process
Natural organic reduction allows human remains to be transformed into nutrient-rich soil through microbial activity within a controlled environment. This process mimics nature’s decomposition cycle, resulting in high-quality soil that can enhance plant growth without harmful chemicals.
In many cases, human composting proves more cost-effective than traditional burial or cremation methods. By eliminating the need for caskets or urns and reducing funeral costs associated with embalming fluids or cemetery plots, individuals can choose an environmentally conscious option at an affordable price point.
The Future of Human Composting in America
The legalization of human composting in several U.S. states signals a shift towards more eco-conscious end-of-life practices. As people become increasingly aware of their impact on the planet even after death, alternative options such as natural organic reduction gain popularity.
While not yet available nationwide, the growing acceptance and exploration of human composting across multiple states indicate a promising future for this sustainable burial alternative. As more research is conducted, regulations are refined, and public awareness expands, it is likely that additional states will adopt legislation to legalize and regulate human composting.
Ultimately, by legalizing human composting as an end-of-life option in various states, we move towards a more environmentally responsible approach to death—a way to return our bodies back to the Earth while nourishing it for generations to come.