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Offbeat The State of Washington legalizes “human compost”, an alternative to traditional burial

22:50  22 may  2019
22:50  22 may  2019 Source:   nouvelobs.com

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L’État de Washington légalise le « compost humain », alternative à l’enterrement traditionnel © Copyright 2019, L'Obs

The process is similar to that already used for decades in agriculture to transform carcasses of animals.

Ecolos, even to death? The inhabitants of Washington State, in the northwest of the United States, now have another choice than classical burial or cremation: a law will allow the deceased to be transformed into "human compost", and thus literally return to the earth.

The law authorizing "natural organic reduction" (officially defined as the "accelerated and closed environment conversion of human remains into humus") was adopted in late April by the local parliament, a first in the United States. It was promulgated Tuesday by Jay Inslee, Democratic Governor of this very progressive state and who is a candidate in the presidential election of 2020 on a program betting a lot on the ecology. The measure is to come into force in May 2020.

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"Recomposition offers an alternative to embalming and burial or cremation. It is natural, safe, sustainable and provides significant savings in CO2 emissions and land use.

That's what Katrina Spade argues, who promoted the law to local elected officials. The young woman created the Recompose company, which has developed a human composting process which it is about to market.

Well, this is exciting! I just got an email saying that SB5001 is on the desk of @GovInslee now! Here's to a future… https://t.co/Х-$oZJEqyVq

—recomposelife (@Katrina Spade) A material similar to “potting soil”

According to the details communicated by the company, it is simply a matter of '' Speed ​​up the body's natural breakdown process by placing it with straw, wood shavings and alfalfa in a container, which creates the ideal conditions of humidity and oxygenation for the bacteria to do their job. "Everything is recomposed, including the teeth and bones," writes Recompose, specifying "to mix" the container in several stages to recover possible dental fillings, pacemakers and other prostheses that are not biodegradable.

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After about thirty days, "the material we return to families is very similar to the soil you could buy in your nursery," says the start-up. The process developed by Recompose is similar to that already used for decades in agriculture to process animal carcasses. It was scientifically tested in 2018 with Washington State University using six bodies donated by volunteers.

According to statistics cited by Recompose, more than one in two Americans on average chooses to be cremated and Washington State is in the lead with 76% cremation. "Green" burial methods are on the rise in the United States, where firms offer organic coffins, or even burial with a simple shroud, without a coffin, in cities allowing it.

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