California has now legalized human composting as a new end-of-life burial option that will benefit the environment.

Source: CBS Los Angeles/YouTube

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the new bill into law last week, which creates a state regulatory process for “natural organic reduction.” This process transforms human remains into the soil. The law will go into effect in 2027, and the state is now the 5th in the US that has legalized human composting. Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Vermont also have legalized the eco-friendly end-of-life option.

Human composting is significantly better for the environment compared to cremation and burial caskets. Many cultures around the world also have similar traditions of returning bodies to nature or back into the soil after death.

Human composting involves placing a body into an insulated vessel that has organic material and helps speed up the composting process. Teeth are removed to prevent mercury contamination from possible dental fillings. Once decomposition is complete, which can take three months, the vessel is opened, and large bones are removed. The smaller bones can be pulverized and left in the vessel for a longer period to decompose. The soil can be returned to the family to use how they wish, or the funeral home often offers services to get the soil back into the earth.

Not only can casket burials be incredibly expensive, but the creation of the casket requires emissions for manufacturing and transportation. On the other hand, cremation has a huge carbon footprint. Research has found that cremation gives off as many emissions as driving a car 700 miles.

This could be an amazing way to reconnect with nature and do one last amazing thing for the earth. We hope that other states will be encouraged to follow this new legalization!

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