Washington is officially the first state to offer human composting as a substitute for cremation or burial. The state’s legislature just passed a bill that makes it legal for companies to offer composting of human remains. Lawmakers hope the new initiative will cut down on waste and carbon emissions typically associated with traditional burials.

Funeral homes in the United States have few options when it comes to burials. Traditional burials use steel and wood, which often leaches harmful chemicals into the soil. There is also cremation, which results in carbon emissions and is not energy efficient. The bill is currently being reviewed by Governor Jay Inslee, who has yet to sign it.

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Inslee, who plans to run for president in 2020, has been touting himself as an advocate for the environment, so not signing the initiative would go against his platform. If everything goes to plan, the new bill will become law on May 1 of 2020.

Although it may sound strange, human composting could be a viable alternative to traditional burials in cities across the United States where grave spaces are limited. People have been practicing human composting, also known as natural organic reduction, for a long time.

There are also a few states that currently allow aquamation, which uses water to swiftly decompose the body. Some businesses are starting to offer more eco-friendly caskets as well, most of which are made from bamboo.

Farmers, of course, have been composting bodies of dead animals for years. Recompose, who supports the state bill, is a human composting company based in Washington that offers results in as little as one month. Once a body is turned into soil, the families of the deceased can use the remains however they please.

If Inslee signs the bill, lawmakers hope other states will follow suit and pass similar legislation related to human composting.

Via Grist

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