According to the co-founder Seth Viddal, nothing is off the table and nothing is too broad for the conversation at The Natural Funeral. Located in Colorado, it is a holistic funeral home.
Death Goes Green With Human Composting-Colorado Approved
He said that they really want families’ needs to be heard and that is the reason why they provide people with things that are meaningful to them. This is in contrast to something that is prescribed and commodified in the conventional industry.
After the practice became legal earlier in the month, The Natural Funeral seems to have performed the first instance of composting a human. This was done in late September.
In Washington, body composting first became legal last year. It is also referred to as natural organic reduction and seems to be a growing trend.
Oregon will legalize this practice next summer and Colorado became the second state to allow human composting.
A bill to legalize body composting in Massachusetts is being considered by lawmakers.
Similar bills in California and New York have made their way to statehouses but have not been pushed forward.
The offering made sense at The Natural Funeral where the mission is in its name.
Viddal said that the fact that getting a conventional burial is not very environmentally friendly is occurring to people these days, and added that the alternative, which is flame cremation is not without its drawbacks either.
The decomposition that occurs in the natural world is mimicked by natural organic reduction. This process has been accelerated recently by technology.
The process, even though it varies by a death care provider, generally involves the use of a large container that is used to hold the remains of humans. In this container, straw, wood chips, and other natural materials are added.
Microbes in the body that produce heat and accelerate the process of turning the body into the soil are stimulated by the controlled environment.
The bones and teeth are processed after the inorganic materials are removed. After this, the soil is cured and returned to the family.
Three companies in Washington specialize in natural organic reduction. One of these companies is opening up in Colorado next year.
One of these facilities is Recompose. It has turned over 60 humans into the soil since it opened its first location in December 2020. Body composting at Recompose takes between six to eight weeks.
The soil is screened and tested as required by the state after the process reaches conclusion.
Anna Swenson, the manager of outreach, said that our conservation forests could be nourished by the soil that is created as it is a valuable biological material. She added that it could also be used in a person’s yard or on trees and plants and it offers a literal returning to earth.
One of the biggest benefits to human composting is the lack of environmental impact. For each person who is sent off this way, 1 metric ton of CO2 is saved.
Katrina Spade had the idea for Recompose over a decade ago when she began to look for alternative death care that would not have an impact on the environment.
Spade, after years of study and research, took part in the effort to legalize human composting in 2019.
In Oregon, the process will become legal in July and Recompose plans on expanding there too.
One of the co-sponsors said that in Oregon, people love their parks, trails, nature and they also love the idea that through composting, someone can end up being a tree.
According to Viddal, a big part of the reason why people are signing up to be composted is so that they can become a tree.
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