Beyond Green Burial

Human Composting at the End of Life




A3pfamily/Shutterstock.com

Washington has become the first state to make it legal to compost human remains. A bill, signed this month by Governor Jay Inslee, allows the process, called natural organic reduction, as well as another called water cremation. Human composting involves placing a body in a tubular vessel and covering it with natural materials like wood chips and straw. Over several weeks, microbial activity breaks down the body into about a cubic yard of soil. Recompose, a company that wants to offer the practice as an alternative to traditional methods, worked with Washington State University to test its safety for environmental and human health. Six people donated their bodies for the study. The method alleviates much of the carbon footprint associated with both cremation and traditional casket burial.


This article appears in the May 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Skip the Slip

Proposed legislation in California would mandate digital receipts as a way to lower the carbon footprint and endocrine-disrupting effects of paper receipts.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »This Month

Springtime Smile Party at Groton Wellness

Drop by Groton Wellness from 6:30 to 8 p.m., May 7, for a free Springtime Smile Party celebrating the grand opening of its new pediatric and orthodontic space.

SBN’s 30th Annual Conference on Sustainable Business

The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts will host its 30th annual Conference on Sustainable Business from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., May 31.

Save Money on Local Produce with CSA

Every day of the week during the summer, Clover Food Lab turns into a pickup point for the best farmshares in New England.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

An Often-Missed Diagnosis in Women
The source of a woman’s obstructive sleep apnea symptoms can be misdiagnosed because of the overlapping symptoms associated with hormone changes and depression.

Mental Health Diet

Using Food as Medicine for Anxiety and Depression
The greatest strategy to decrease inflammation and thus support optimal mental health is through consuming an anti-inflammatory diet where food is used as medicine.

The Ultimate Heroes

Our May issue arrives with spring in the air and “Her Soul in Bloom: Self-Care for All Stages of Life,” Marlaina Donato’s blissful feature on the importance of me-time.