- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 22, 2022

You will soon be able to compost the remains of your loved ones in California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law Sunday that tasks state officials with developing regulations for what is called natural organic reduction (NOR) where the body is broken down into soil, according to Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, the bill’s sponsor.

People can begin taking advantage of the new burial method by 2027. 

Four other states have already legalized human composting, including Washington State, Colorado, Oregon and Vermont, according to Smithsonian Magazine.  

The process of turning the body into soil takes about 30 to 60 days after the remains are placed into an 8-foot-long steel box with biodegradable materials such as wood chips and flowers inside, The Guardian reported.

Ms. Garcia said the remains can be returned to the family or donated to conservation land after the process is completed.

The new method is pitched as an environmentally friendly alternative to cremation, which Ms. Garcia said requires the use of fossil fuels and emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The National Funeral Directors Association said California had a cremation rate of 67% in 2018.

“This is an alternative method of final disposition that won’t contribute emissions into our atmosphere and will actually capture CO2 in our soil and trees,” Ms. Garcia said in a statement following the bill’s signing. “For each individual who chooses NOR over conventional burial or cremation, the process saves the equivalent of one metric ton of carbon from entering the environment.”

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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