Human composting will soon be legal in Washington and this company is fast-tracking a way to do it

SEATTLE  --  Where do we go from here?

It’s a question you may have asked yourself a time or two.  If you ask Katrina Spade:

“You just get to return to nature," she says. "We want our last gesture on earth to align with the way we tried to live our lives."

We first introduced you to Spade back in 2014, after she launched a non-profit called “The Urban Death Project.”  Her goal is to give people a natural alternative from cremation and burial; human composting.

“I think you were one of the first people to interview me about it. And it was a concept that had a ton of momentum and interest behind it,” says Spade.

On Wednesday, Washington became the first state in the nation to legalize the composting of human remains.  For Spade, some things have changed, like the name; which is now ‘Recompose.'

“To recompose is to compose again,” says Spade. "During this process, our bodies break down on a molecular level and we are being recomposed.  We are being composed again, as soil."

It’s no longer a non-profit, but a public benefit corporation. Katrina says it's one that holds environmental and social benefits on par with for-profits.

“We have soil scientists, legal experts, project managers, architects, all working on this together,” says Spade.

The concept remains the same.

“A body is laid into a vessel, onto a bed of wood chips and straw and alfalfa. And that basically creates the perfect environment for microbes to break the body down over the next month.  They are designed in a honeycomb shape and in some ways it feels like it reminds us that we are part of a collective, but we do get our own individual vessel,” says Spade.

The composting process takes about a month, after which, loved ones can come pick up the remains.

“The soil will be regulated, the same as ashes from cremation. And in Washington state, you can do anything you want with ashes from cremation, as long as you have permission from the landowner,” says Spade.

 

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