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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday December 10 2019, @10:46AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the real-dirt-nap dept.

In 2021, a Seattle Washington funeral company is set to open its doors and begin accepting customers in a first of a kind human composting site.

US 'deathcare' company Recompose will be able to turn the deceased into a cubic yard of soil over a period of as little as 30 days, using one-eighth of the energy of cremation and saving as much as a metric ton of carbon dioxide from being produced compared to other forms of burial.

The company will be able to service up to 75 individuals at once.

the process sees bodies placed in reusable vessels covered in woodchips, alfalfa and hay, and sealed away in hexagonal tubes.

There the corpse's temperature is regulated while its surroundings are aerated, allowing naturally occurring bacteria to break down the body over the course of four to seven weeks.

The deceased is then returned to their loved ones as compost, limiting the carbon footprint from cremations and traditional burials while cutting out the embalming fluid chemicals which can leach into the soil and can pollute groundwater.

If desired, the dearly departed dirt can also be donated to

a land soil project to provide a forest on the state's Bell Mountain with additional nutrients, with one person creating 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of soil.

Previous Coverage Here, Here, and Here


Original Submission

Related Stories

'Urban Death Project' Proposes to Compost the Dead 53 comments

Even as more people opt for interment in simple shrouds or biodegradable caskets, urban cemeteries continue to fill up and cremation is a problematic option for the environmentally conscious, as the process releases greenhouse gases. Now Catrin Einhorn reports at the NYT that architect Katrina Spade has designed a facility for human composting that is attracting interest from environmental advocates and scientists. “Composting makes people think of banana peels and coffee grounds,” says Spade. But “our bodies have nutrients. What if we could grow new life after we’ve died?” The Urban Death Project's plans call for a three-story-high polished concrete composting structure in Seattle called "the core," which would be surrounded by contemplative spaces for visitors. After a ceremony - religious or not - friends and family would help insert the body into the core. Over several weeks a body would turn into about one cubic yard of compost, enough to plant a tree or a patch of flowers.

For most people in the US, there are two options after death: You are buried or you are burned. The costs, both environmental and financial, are significant, but we accept these options because they are all that we know. Conventional burial is anything but natural. Cadavers are preserved with embalming fluid containing formaldehyde, a carcinogen then buried in caskets made of metal or wood, and placed inside a concrete or metal burial vault. The tradition of embalming in the United States is relatively new, beginning in the Civil War when northern families needed to get their dead men home from the South. Spade understands the idea of human composting may be icky to some, but it’s an important part of her concept, the thing that differentiates it from natural burial, which requires extensive land. "I’m sure I’ll continue to get pushback, but I’ll continue to be stubborn because I think it’s really important that we’re part of a larger ecosystem.”

Washington Could Become the First State to Compost the Dead 39 comments

With an upcoming bill, Washington state might be able to start composting dead people. The bill aims to legalize composting human remains and the heat generated by natural microbes should bring the pile up to 55°C for 72 hours, which is hot enough to kill key pathogens.

The method is called “recomposting” and claims to be cheaper and more environmentally friendly than traditional burial or cremation. It involves rapidly decomposing a body and converting the remains into soil. That nutrient-rich material can then be used to grow trees, flowers, and other new life.

The alternative practice hinges on a bill that state senator Jamie Pedersen plans to introduce next month, according to NBC. It would legalize recomposting in Washington where burial and cremation are currently the only acceptable ways to dispose of human remains.

Composting was prominent in the Larry Niven / Jerry Pournelle science fiction novel, Footfall. However, the discussion in Washington was initiated by Katrina Spade in 2013 while working on her master’s in architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Original Submission

State of Washington Legalizes Human Composting 34 comments

Washington becomes first US state to legalise human composting

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.

The process is seen as an alternative to cremations and burials, and as a practical option in cities where land for graveyards is scarce.

At the end of the composting, loved ones are given the soil, which they can use in planting flowers, vegetables or trees.

Grow vegetables using human compost from loved one, despair as pests eat all of it.

Previously: 'Urban Death Project' Proposes to Compost the Dead
Washington Could Become the First State to Compost the Dead


Original Submission

Human Composting Now Legal in California 13 comments

Human Composting Now Legal in California:

Compared to cremation, turning your body into mulch keeps a surprising amount of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

In a few years, people in California will have a new choice for what to do with their loved ones' bodies after death: put them in their garden.

"AB 351 will provide an additional option for California residents that is more environmentally-friendly and gives them another choice for burial," Assembly member Cristina Garcia, who sponsored the bill, said in a release. "With climate change and sea-level rise as very real threats to our environment, this is an alternative method of final disposition that won't contribute emissions into our atmosphere."

Human beings cause more than enough trouble while we're alive, but the practices we've developed to handle our bodies after death are also pretty bad for the environment. Burying a dead body takes about three gallons of embalming liquid per corpse—stuff like formaldehyde, methanol, and ethanol—and about 5.3 million gallons total gets buried with bodies each year. Meanwhile, cremation creates more than 500 pounds (227 kilograms) of carbon dioxide from the burning process of just one body, and the burning itself uses up the energy equivalent of two tanks of gasoline. In the U.S., cremation creates roughly 360,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

It's a no-brainer, then, to think of greener alternatives. The most common process for human composting—and the one laid out in the new California law—is called natural organic reduction, which involves leaving the body in a container with some wood chips and other organic matter for about a month to let bacteria do its work. The resulting mulch (yep, it's human body mulch) is then allowed to cure for a few more weeks before being turned over to the family. Each body can produce about a cubic yard of soil, or around one pickup truckbeds' worth. According to Garcia's release, this process will save about a metric ton of CO2 per body.

Related: World's First Human Composting Site to Open


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @10:50AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @10:50AM (#930512)

    a land soil project to provide a forest on the state's Bell Mountain with additional nutrients, with one person supplementing 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of soil.

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by Bot on Tuesday December 10 2019, @11:24AM (8 children)

    by Bot (3902) on Tuesday December 10 2019, @11:24AM (#930516) Journal

    Always considered cremation a waste of resources openly contrasting the current ecopauperism. Wonder why it is tolerated.

    --
    Account abandoned.
    • (Score: 2) by Chocolate on Tuesday December 10 2019, @12:34PM (3 children)

      by Chocolate (8044) on Tuesday December 10 2019, @12:34PM (#930532) Journal

      Religion.

      Just about all of them say you will go to Hell if you don't follow their religion. Hence the burning.

      --
      Bit-choco-coin anyone?
      • (Score: 2) by Bot on Tuesday December 10 2019, @08:35PM (1 child)

        by Bot (3902) on Tuesday December 10 2019, @08:35PM (#930760) Journal

        Nice try but your interpretation fails for the most widespread religion, satanism.

        --
        Account abandoned.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25 2019, @03:52PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25 2019, @03:52PM (#936041)

          You misspelt "Islam" there. Yes, all of them are going to Hell following the path set by the Greatest Deceiver of them All. Satan.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11 2019, @04:06AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11 2019, @04:06AM (#930950)

        Go hell if you don't follow their religion or literally Hitler if you don't comply with leftist desires. Left is just as fanatical as the religious.

    • (Score: 2) by looorg on Tuesday December 10 2019, @02:09PM

      by looorg (578) on Tuesday December 10 2019, @02:09PM (#930553)

      It doesn't have to be a waste, you could use the excess heat to warm things up such as buildings.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11 2019, @03:26AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11 2019, @03:26AM (#930939)
      What are the other alternatives that are widely available to cremation? Plain old burial has rather high costs too, both financial and ecological. The former costs are definitely higher, as embalming, a plot of land in a cemetery, and a coffin are at least an order of magnitude more expensive than cremation, an urn, and a niche in a crypt, the latter two being optional. I know this since I've had to do the latter for my own mother fairly recently, and have been helping out doing the former for several other recently deceased relatives. If this human composting ever becomes a viable option for me when I die, I'd prefer it I think.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11 2019, @06:00AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11 2019, @06:00AM (#930975)

        Thanks to the laws in my state, to be cremated requires embalming and a full-sized coffin to be burned in (one guy even had the law citation ready to go when I pushed back, which I double-checked later). When I was price-shopping, burial in the cheapest cemetery only added $300 to the total price compared to cremation.

        Although you should have seen the look of fake horror on one gal's face when I dared to suggest that my friend would be perfectly happy being set on fire in a cardboard box.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 12 2019, @04:29AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 12 2019, @04:29AM (#931323)
          Now that is beyond ridiculous. Around here, you only need to be embalmed and have a coffin if you (or your heirs and assigns) want to have a wake where visitors can see your corpse before it's cremated. This was what was done for my mother, against my personal wishes but since the rest of my family wanted it that way despite the expense I was overruled. And even then the funeral parlour just rents out the coffin. They get it back the day cremation is done, and only a small fee is paid for the coffin rental. Actual cremation is done by indeed placing the corpse inside a cardboard box (where family and friends can optionally write messages addressed to the deceased), and placing that inside the cremation oven. You can also opt to be cremated immediately after death, no need for a coffin or embalming. This was what was done with my father-in-law, as my wife's family was eminently more practical, and we had his wake with the urn of ashes in a prominent spot instead.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Muad'Dave on Tuesday December 10 2019, @12:03PM (2 children)

    by Muad'Dave (1413) on Tuesday December 10 2019, @12:03PM (#930523)

    I'm still concerned about prions infecting the resulting 'humulch' (I think I'll trademark that) and getting into the environment. From their FAQ:

    The process of natural organic reduction destroys most harmful pathogens. However, there is not enough evidence showing that the process breaks down prion disease. So, someone who has died of a prion disease, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, would not be a candidate for natural organic reduction. Similarly, someone who has died of a highly contagious disease such as Ebola (an outbreak of which would be managed by the CDC) would not be a candidate for organic reduction.

    How can Recompose be sure that their customers are prion-disease free? One misdiagnosis (or missed diagnosis, for that matter) of CJD, CWD, Alzheimers, or another prion disease (perhaps one we haven't recognized yet) and you put the recipients of the 'humulch' and anyone downstream in the hydrological cycle in danger of infection.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @04:25PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @04:25PM (#930629)

      Well still better than the soylentgreen idea
      https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=19/09/07/0111254 [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 1) by pTamok on Tuesday December 10 2019, @09:36PM

      by pTamok (3042) on Tuesday December 10 2019, @09:36PM (#930793)

      I'm not sure but alkaline hydrolysis [wikipedia.org], otherwise known as 'liquid cremation' may be a sufficiently rigorous process to denature human prion proteins. It is used to dispose of animal carcases that are infected with transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.

      According to Wikipedia:

      This alkaline hydrolysis process has been championed by a number of ecological campaigning groups,[7] for using 90 kW-hr of electricity,[8] one-quarter the energy of flame-based cremation and producing less carbon dioxide and pollutants.

  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @12:07PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @12:07PM (#930524)

    Because they are so short of space they have to mince the bodies and fertilize land with it.

    Seriously, what is wrong with burying the bodies (there is enough space on the planet) ? And they call it conservation areas (where only the victims of the elite/parasites are buried).

    This is another trick to get rid of bodies they don't want people asking questions about. Think young children that are slayed as sacrifices to demon gods and those that are raped and then slayed.

    • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @12:36PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @12:36PM (#930533)

      young children that are slayed as sacrifices to demon gods and those that are raped and then slayed

      Now now, no picking on islam. We don't do that these days. Just bend over and take it. Good person. Be quiet. Pay your taxes. Don't let them bash your door down just unlock it, pull down your pants and spread your legs.

      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @03:36PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @03:36PM (#930603)

        You'za confuzing Satanic Judaism/Freemasonry and other parasitic races/systems with something else.

        Did you forget about Epstein? How many prepubescents did he murder himself and how many did the Clintons/others do?

        P.S: are you a JIDF agent?

    • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by Bot on Tuesday December 10 2019, @08:39PM

      by Bot (3902) on Tuesday December 10 2019, @08:39PM (#930763) Journal

      If you want a concrete solution for getting rid of a body, the mafia has a couple. (Hint 1. concrete 2. solution)

      --
      Account abandoned.
  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @12:21PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @12:21PM (#930529)

    >> with one person creating 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of soil.

    I hope that's an outlier, otherwise fat-assed Americans have gotten even fatter than I thought.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11 2019, @04:27AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11 2019, @04:27AM (#930953)

      2,000 to 3,000 pounds of soil?

      At one sitting?

  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday December 10 2019, @12:57PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Tuesday December 10 2019, @12:57PM (#930537) Journal

    Or we could do as the Zoroastrians do and leave our dead in "Towers of Silence" for carrion birds to eat them; that way, we give the birds flu.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @01:40PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @01:40PM (#930543)

    well, this is a first step.
    regular science (and religion) cannot really discern between coffin burial, oven burial or cover-with-dirt burial. dead is dead, right? doesn't matter what happens next.
    ofc oven burial is the cheapest, fastest/easiest and has the most "efficient" output. burning shit to a crisp is also how the living mostly get rid of all matter of unwanted junk :)
    well, ignoring the "implications" of loved ones BBQ their deceased, i feel the next step should be to establish a official )government/federal) composting agency.
    it would be tasked with giving out permits to "compost" dead people.
    for example, you got a really loved one but dead and a garden. you would call this agent and show him the death certificate and the garden.
    the agent would take some soil probe and then determine if the garden space is suitable for composting. if ok-ed you can return the body to gaia in your own back yard.
    i much would prefer this then particulirizing dead bodies into an aerosol and spraying them far and wide out the smoke stack only to redeposit them in (soon to be dead?) lungs of the living.
    i kid you not, where i live, if it smells like BBQ at three A.M. a rather fat person was put thru the stack. the skinny ones smell less ... tasty.
    -
    shiiit! it's my garden (now) and my relative.

    • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Tuesday December 10 2019, @02:07PM

      by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Tuesday December 10 2019, @02:07PM (#930552) Journal
      This is not a first step. Before embalming, everyone who was buried was turned into dirt. And a lot cheaper . And serial killers still do it.
      --
      SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by cmdrklarg on Tuesday December 10 2019, @03:05PM (2 children)

    by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 10 2019, @03:05PM (#930588)

    Do with it as you wish.

    --
    Answer now is don't give in; aim for a new tomorrow.
    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday December 10 2019, @06:32PM (1 child)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 10 2019, @06:32PM (#930687) Journal

      Really it's a zombie process shell, that was forked from the original shell which has had its privileges elevated and moved to a different kernel namespace.

      --
      You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
      • (Score: 2) by Bot on Tuesday December 10 2019, @08:42PM

        by Bot (3902) on Tuesday December 10 2019, @08:42PM (#930766) Journal

        > which has had its privileges elevated

        or ended in lakeoffire, a symbolic link to /dev/null

        --
        Account abandoned.
  • (Score: 2) by stretch611 on Tuesday December 10 2019, @06:58PM

    by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 10 2019, @06:58PM (#930700)

    You will become worm food.

    --
    Not a Mega Millions Jackpot winner
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @07:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @07:48PM (#930732)

    Live in a coffin, eat bugs, dropped into the mulcher when you die.

    "It is every citizen's final duty to go into the tanks, and become one with all the people."

  • (Score: 2) by Bot on Tuesday December 10 2019, @08:44PM (1 child)

    by Bot (3902) on Tuesday December 10 2019, @08:44PM (#930769) Journal

    Putting the soylent green in soylentnews.

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    Account abandoned.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @10:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10 2019, @10:37PM (#930821)

      It's so on-topic it kills.

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