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Natural Awakenings National

Composting Human Remains is a Reality

Compostable human remains

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Frustrated with the limited options for environmentally friendly burial services and the rampant use of embalming in most funeral homes, which turns these sites into major groundwater polluters, environmental activist Katrina Spade founded Recompose, the country’s first human composting funeral home, in Seattle. Formaldehyde, one of the most common embalming chemicals, is a carcinogen. 

Inspired by Spade’s idea, Governor Jay Inslee passed a bill legalizing composting as a form of human burial in 2019. Before then, the only legal and eco-friendly burial options were natural burial sites, of which there are only one or two hundred in the country. Both cremations and traditional burials cause environmental damage. Recompose offers an innovative funeral service that turns human remains into healthy soil. It gives Washington state and surrounding residents a chance to make a positive environmental change through their death, as well as their life. The process is said to save a metric ton of CO2 in the burial process, and the facility is accepting clients throughout the Northwest.

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