Composting Human Remains Is Now Legal In California, And People Can Opt To Be ‘Plant Food’

Residents of California will shortly have the opportunity to compost their remains after passing away. Composting human remains is now legal in California, and people can opt to be literal plant food.

Composting Human Remains Is Now Legal In California And People Can Opt To Be Plant Food

Human composting is now allowed in California thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing of a bill this past weekend.

Composting Human Remains Is Now Legal In California And People Can Opt To Be Plant Food 2
California residents will soon have the option to compost their bodies after death. Credit: AP:Associated Press

Human composting, also known as natural organic reduction (NOR), enables the body to decompose into the soil.

Beginning in 2027, this new legislation will go into operation in the Golden State.

The AB-351 bill from California makes it the fifth state to officially sanction human composting.

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In 2019, Washington became the first state to legalize it, and since then Oregon, Colorado, and Vermont have followed suit.

“AB 351 will provide an additional option for California residents that is more environmentally friendly and gives them another choice for burial,” Assemblymember Cristina Garcia 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.”

The truth behind traditional funerals

Not only are traditional funerals for people expensive, but they also have a very negative impact on the environment.

According to CNN, the United States alone uses over 4 million gallons of hazardous embalming fluid each year for burials.

Additionally, a bunch of carbon and even mercury can be released into the atmosphere during cremation.

This has led to a rise in the popularity of an eco-friendly strategy among bioresearchers.

“The wildfires, extreme drought, and heat dome we just experienced remind us that climate change is real and detrimental and we must do everything we can to reduce methane and CO2 emissions,” Garcia said.

How does human composting work?

The corpses are placed in an 8-foot-long steel box as part of the procedure, according to The Guardian.

Biodegradable components like wood chips and flowers were used to make this box.

Microbes and microorganisms that aid in the degradation process are present on these materials.

The body decomposes into soil after 30 to 60 days; the family can then receive the soil back.

The controversy

The newest California law is not popular with everyone; according to The Guardian, the California Catholic Conference claims that the composting process “reduces the human body to simply a disposable commodity.”

“The practice of respectfully burying the bodies or the honoring of the ashes of the deceased comports with the virtually universal norm of reverence and care towards the deceased,” it said.

Costs range from $5,000 to $7,000 to compost a person’s remains after death.

This may be a little less expensive than the $7,225 and $6,028, respectively, cost of a casket burial and cremation in California.

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