Washington becomes first state to allow composting of human bodies

Washington became the first state to legalize human composting on Tuesday as Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill allowing the “natural organic” method of burying human remains in the dirt.

The composting process mixes a human body with wood chips and straw, ultimately turning the deceased person into two wheelbarrows full of dirt in a matter of weeks.

“It gives meaning and use to what happens to our bodies after death,” said Nora Menkin, executive director of the Seattle-based People’s Memorial Association, which helps people plan for funerals.

The practice is cited as more environmentally friendly than cremation or burials — which supporters claim pollutes the ground with chemicals and creates cumbersome coffins that take up space underground.


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