New York State residents can now choose the option of having a green burial, allowing their bodies to be turned into human compost. The bill which passed both the state senate and assembly was signed by Governor Kathy Hochul signs it on Saturday, December 31, 2022. The bill, S.5535/A.382, allows humans to be composted upon death, rather than having a traditional burial or being cremated. If it seems like something out of a science fiction movie, it's not as bad as it sounds. The bill's summary says it provides for,

The creation, operation, and duties of natural organic reduction facilities as cemetery corporations for the contained, accelerated conversion of human remains to soil.

Bloomberg breaks down (no pun intended) the law into layman's terms,

It would allow facilities to use natural organic reduction, which accelerates the process of biological decomposition in an above-ground container and transforms human remains into soil.

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New York Becomes Sixth State To Legalize Human Composting

The first state to legalize green burials was Washington in 2019. Colorado and Oregon legalized it in 2021 and then Vermont and California did earlier in 2022.

Return Home is a Washington-based company that offers human composting. It describes the process of Terramation on its website,

Oxygen flows through the vessel which stimulates microbes in the body. These microbes rapidly transform the body into soil in just 30 days. The soil is screened for inorganics and placed into a cube to rest and cool for the next 30 days. Beautiful life-giving soil is ready to be returned home to the family or to be scattered at The Woodland.

Credit: Return Home - Human Composting Provider via Youtube

I don't have any issue with it personally. To me, the bigger concern is what will the soil be used for? I'm not comfortable with it being used for farming or growing anything that humans will consume at a later date. I'm sure there are all types of yucky stuff in our soil already, but the idea of eating a carrot grown from the composted soil of my great aunt Dot, just doesn't seem right!

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