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Washington To Become First State To Allow Human Composting

The Governor of Washington state, Jay Inslee, signed legislation Tuesday that approves the process that turns bodies into soil within weeks. 

This push for eco-friendly burial alternatives will allow loved ones to keep the soil in urns, similar to cremation, which can be spread in public lands or used to grow plants on private property.

Human composting, or “natural organic reduction,” as it’s also known, relies on a mixture of materials, such as wood chips and straw, to produce about two wheelbarrows’ worth of soil.

The legislation was inspired by Katrina Spade, a graduate student who came up with the idea by modeling it from a method farmers use to dispose of livestock. Spade found that a mixture of wood chips, alfalfa and straw can convert bodies to soil within four to seven weeks. She tested it during a pilot program at Washington State University with six human bodies.

Spade, who has founded a company called  “Recompose,” said in April, “Our goal is to provide something that is as aligned with the natural cycle as possible, but still realistic in being able to serve a good number of families and not take up as much land as burial will.”

According to the Seattle Times, the law takes effect May 1, 2020. Previous laws allowed for only cremation or traditional burials to dispose of remains in Washington.

Other green burial methods, like using a biodegradable casket, are growing in popularity around the country in recent years. Actor Luke Perry, who passed away in March, was buried in an eco-friendly mushroom suit that is fully biodegradable.

The law also allows for alkaline hydrolysis, or “liquid cremation,” the Times reported.

Human Compositing


About Retonjah Burdette

Retonjah Burdette is a publicist and published content curator from Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving her Bachelor’s in Public Relations from Georgia Southern University in 2017, Burdette then went on to get field experience with one of the top entertainment PR firms in Atlanta. Since the start of her career, Burdette has worked with a number of actors, authors, entrepreneurs and independent artists. She has secured placements on media outlets such as TV One’s Sister Circle, Good Day Atlanta on FOX, V-103, CBS 46, Kontrol Magazine, KISS 104.1 and Rolling Out to name a few. In addition to her growth in PR, she is currently a writer for Baller Alert, a top platform for news and entertainment. In hopes of bringing the visions of others to life, she launched Girl Avant-Garde in 2019, a creative agency specializing in innovative content, branding and PR in entertainment. Her overall goal is to have autonomy over her creative thought process and to teach branding to new entrepreneurs and others pursuing a career in the public eye.

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