With each passing year, eco-friendly lifestyles are becoming increasingly popular in all corners of the planet. However, the latest dimension of this fad from the United States is stirring up plenty of controversy.
In 2019, the idea of a more eco-friendly approach to human burial has emerged in the US state of Washington. So far, it can be done in two ways, namely traditional burial in the ground or cremation. Now composting, which is simply the direct conversion of a corpse into fertilizer, has also been added.
You may wonder why such an idea was born, because after all the body placed in a grave will decompose after some time or during the cremation process it will become ashes. Well, behind this idea is a truly ecological technical thought for the 21st century. Human composting significantly speeds up the decomposition of flesh, turning it into natural nutrients for the soil and the microorganisms that live in it.
The method involves placing human remains in a special enclosure. It is heated with warm air, and organic materials such as wood chips, alfalfa and straw are added to the corpse to create favorable conditions for the growth of microorganisms and microbes that help transform the corpse. The originators of the project state that decomposition takes only 4 to 7 weeks.
Meanwhile, depositing a body in a coffin or after cremation not only takes away valuable land that can be used for crops, but is also a source of serious environmental pollution. In a year, traditional forms of burial consume 90,000 tons of steel and 1.6 million tons of concrete, and 246,000 tons of carbon dioxide are emitted into the atmosphere.
“The cremation process consumes fossil fuels, and this increases the emission of carbon dioxide and mercury into the atmosphere. With conventional burial, it’s similar, because the entire process also has a carbon footprint through, for example, electricity consumption, transportation of coffins, grave liners, and the maintenance of cemeteries themselves. Meanwhile, recomposition uses only one-eighth of the energy of cremation.” – said Katrina Spade, founder of Recompose, a company that offers composting of dead people’s bodies.
Proponents of this method of burial see it as an alternative to traditional forms, particularly aimed at those people who have cared for the environment in their lives but also want to do their part for it after death. According to the Recompose company on its website, the body after composting turns into about 0.76 cubic meters of soil in which flowers or vegetables can be planted.
The human composting law went into effect in Washington State, Colorado and Oregon, and soon in California. The governor is open to new environmental projects, so the new law should go into effect later this year.