The Rise of Sustainable Burial: A Closer Look at States Where Human Composting is Legal

What States is Human Composting Legal?

As society continues to search for environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional burial and cremation methods, the concept of human composting has gained traction. Also known as natural organic reduction or green burial, this process allows human remains to be transformed into nutrient-rich soil that can support plant growth. However, the legality of human composting varies across different states in the United States.

Understanding Human Composting

In order to comprehend the legal landscape surrounding human composting, it is important to first understand what this process entails. Human composting involves placing a deceased individual’s body in a vessel filled with organic materials such as wood chips, straw, or even alfalfa. Over time, microbial activity breaks down the body through natural decomposition processes until only clean and safe soil remains.

The Environmental Benefits

One of the main reasons why increasing numbers of people are gravitating towards human composting is its positive impact on the environment. Instead of using up valuable land resources for cemeteries or releasing harmful emissions during cremations, this method offers a sustainable solution that promotes recycling within nature’s life cycle.

A State-by-State Overview

The legality of human composting varies from state to state due to variations in laws and regulations governing funeral practices. As of now (2021), only a handful of states have explicitly legalized this innovative burial option:

Oregon – Pioneering Legislation

Oregon became the first state in America to legalize and regulate human composting when Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 227 into law in 2019. This landmark legislation permits both individuals and facilities licensed by Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to offer natural organic reduction services as an alternative choice for after-death care.

Washington – Following in Oregon’s Footsteps

Following Oregon’s lead, Washington passed a similar law legalizing human composting in 2020. This legislation allows for the licensure and regulation of natural organic reduction facilities, giving individuals in Washington another eco-friendly option when considering their end-of-life arrangements.

Colorado – Opening New Doors

In 2021, the state of Colorado joined Oregon and Washington by becoming the third to legalize human composting. The new law authorizes both funeral homes and crematories to provide natural organic reduction services while ensuring compliance with specific standards set forth by regulatory authorities.

Please note that laws are subject to change over time, so it is crucial to consult updated resources or legal professionals if you are considering human composting as an option in your state.

The Future of Human Composting

As awareness about the environmental impact of traditional burial practices continues to grow, there is a possibility that more states will legalize human composting in the future. Advocates emphasize not only its ecological benefits but also its potential for lowering funeral costs compared to traditional methods. However, this movement requires ongoing efforts from both legislators and citizens alike.

In conclusion, while only a few states currently have explicit legislation allowing for human composting at present (Oregon, Washington, and Colorado), it is important to keep up-to-date on changes within your own jurisdiction. As sustainable alternatives gain traction nationwide due to increased awareness and demand for eco-friendly options after death, we may witness further progress towards making human composting legal across more states.