Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed a law this week explicitly authorizing the "organic reduction" of human remains. It is the only state in the US (and probably in the world).
The deal also legalizes alkaline hydrolysis, a chemical process that uses heat, pressure and water to liquefy the remains: the bones remain intact and can be reduced to ash for loved ones.
The new law, which will come into force in May 2020, it is a fantastic second measure Recompose, an organization that aims to offer “composting” services as an alternative to burial and cremation. Traditional techniques include a form of "embalming" with chemical compounds that take centuries if not millennia to clear the soil. Cremation also requires a significant amount of energy (mostly from sources) resulting in the release of greenhouse gases.
Composting is not completely free from emissions, but it is by far the "greenest" method: Recompose and the companies that will arise from here on will therefore turn to those who want to greet this world without damaging the environment.
The process is completed in 4 weeks and each body produces just under 1 cubic meter of compost: a way to continue the cycle of life, family members will be able to take home a "pot" of soil that will be able to give birth to new plants and trees.
Katrina Spade, founder of Recompose, estimates the cost of the process at around 5000 euros: more expensive than traditional ones, but cheaper for the environment with a ton of CO2 less for each person who chooses composting over other burial techniques.
The spread of this method will also bring a change in our cult of the dead, bringing the relationship we have with them closer to a more universal bond with nature. The cemeteries will be joined by “composting” structures similar to parks and gardens where you can spend time in the quiet and in the memory of loved ones who have made a generous choice even in the moment of farewell.