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Tech & Science Washington first US state to legalize human composting

04:05  22 may  2019
04:05  22 may  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Washington has become the first state in the US to legalise human composting . Under the new law, people there can now choose to have their body turned into soil after their death. At the end of the composting , loved ones are given the soil, which they can use in planting flowers, vegetables or trees.

Washington becomes the first state to legalize composting of humans . Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Tuesday legalizing human composting . The bill will go into effect in May next year. Currently in Washington , bodies can either be cremated or buried.

Washington first US state to legalize human composting© JUSTIN SULLIVAN "Human compost" that is supposed to look like the soil shown in this picture

Washington on Tuesday became the first US state to legalize human composting after its eco-friendly governor signed a bill to that effect in a bid to cut carbon emissions from burials and cremations.

Washington first US state to legalize human composting
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Under the new law that will go into effect in May of next year, people who die in the state will have the option to have their bodies transformed into soil suitable for use in gardening in a process called recomposition.

"Recomposition offers an alternative to embalming and burial or cremation that is natural, safe, sustainable, and will result in significant savings in carbon emissions and land usage," said Katrina Spade, who lobbied for the law and is the founder of Recompose, a Seattle-based company set to be the first to offer the service.

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Washington could soon become the first state to allow another option: human composting . Washington residents "are very excited about the prospect of becoming a tree or having a different alternative,” state Sen. Jamie Pedersen said.

Washington on Tuesday became the first US state to legalize human composting after its eco-friendly governor signed a bill to that effect in a bid to cut carbon emissions from burials and cremations. Under the new law that will go into effect in May of next year, people who die in the state will have the

"The idea of returning to nature so directly and being folded back into the cycle of life and death is actually pretty beautiful," Spade added in a statement sent to AFP.

She said she became interested in the process about 10 years ago after turning 30 and thinking more about her own mortality.

Spade then began examining the technical aspects of creating an environmentally friendly "third option" that could compete with the $20-billion US funeral industry, which offers conventional burial and cremation.

Her approach -- developed with Washington State University, which did clinical trials with donor bodies -- calls for a dead person to be placed in an hexagonal steel container filled with wood chips, alfalfa and straw.

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Washington on Tuesday became the first US state to legalize human composting after its eco-friendly governor signed a bill to that effect in a bid to cut carbon emissions from burials and cremations. Under the new law that will go into effect in May of next year, people who die in the state will have.

Washington on Tuesday became the first US state to legalize human composting after its eco-friendly governor signed a bill to that effect in a bid to cut carbon emissions from burials and cremations. Under the new law that will go into effect in May of next year, people who die in the state will have the

The container is then shut and the body is decomposed by microbes within 30 days. The end product is a dry, fluffy nutrient-rich soil resembling what one would buy at a local nursery and suitable for vegetable gardens.

"Everything -- including bones and teeth –- is recomposed," Spade said. "That’s because our system creates the perfect environment for thermophilic (i.e. heat-loving) microbes and beneficial bacteria to break everything down quite quickly."

The process used by Recompose is the same as that used for decades with farm animals and the clinical trials carried out by the university in Washington found that it was also safe for use with humans.

- 'Socially acceptable materials' -

"We have found that the essential methods that we use for livestock mortality composting are also effective for human disposition," said Dr Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, a professor of soil science at Washington State University. "We have substantially changed the materials used, to be socially acceptable, but the basic principles that we have learned from livestock mortality composting are very effective for the human research subjects that we used."

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Washington is poised to become the first US state to legalize the “natural organic reduction” of corpses, a.k.a. human composting , meaning an eco-friendly In about a month, the body is reduced to a cubic yard of compost , which the family can take home as they would the ashes from a cremation.

Washington became the first US state on Tuesday to legalize human composting after Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill aimed at cutting carbon emissions from burials and cremations. The new law, which will go into effect in May 2020, will give people who die in the state the option to have their

Washington first US state to legalize human composting© Philip FONG An exhibitor arranges flower on a casket during the Asia Funeral and Cemetery Expo in Hong Kong on May 14, 2019.

According to statistics, more than one in two Americans opt for cremation. In Washington state, nearly 75 percent of people choose that option.

Spade expects her company to charge some $5,500 for a "natural organic reduction," an amount a little bit over the price of cremation but less than the price of burial in a casket.

Her innovation comes as so-called "green" or earth-friendly burials are gaining traction in the United States, where companies are now offering organic caskets or a burial in which the body is wrapped in a simple shroud in towns that allow it.

Washington first US state to legalize human composting© GIANLUIGI GUERCIA Workers dig a grave at a cemetery

The actor Luke Perry, star of the hit-series "Beverly Hills 90210" who died in March, was buried in a biodegradable suit made partly out of mushrooms, as he requested.

The so-called "mushroom suit" was developed by Coeio, a California startup, that said the attire helps the body decompose, neutralizes toxins found in the body and transfers nutrients to plant life.

But not everyone is enthusiastic about turning bodies into garden-variety soil, notably the Catholic church, which has denounced recomposition as undignified.

"The Catholic Church believes that disposing human remains in such a manner fails to show enough respect for the body of the deceased," Joseph Sprague, executive director of the Washington State Catholic Conference, said in a letter to the legislative committee that examined the bill signed on Tuesday.

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