Living With Compost: A Case Study of New State Laws to Legalize Human Composting in the Garden of the Life, But Greener
I held a backyard barbecue at my apartment. A trash can, a recycle bin, and a compost bin were put out for waste. As my friends helped me clean up at the end of the night, I learned that we had very different ideas of what was compostable. Are vegetable scraps? Definitely compostable. But what about meat? Paper plates used? What paper towels do you use?
The rise of interest in alternatives is sparking a rise in the number of startup trying to disrupt practices. New York became the sixth US state to Legalize Human Composting in January, using heat and oxygen to speed up the process of converting bodies into soil.
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The human composters are trying to dismantle the funeral industry in order to get a solution. The potential to alter an age-old practice has brought together former Silicon Valley types, celebrity investors, and mission-driven entrepreneurs as interested in lofty green goals as they are in changing our relationship to death.
Providers say they are seeing unprecedented demand. The human composting startup Return Home has seen a large number of people from California who have been banned from using human composting in their home state. 5 people drove with bodies in tow to Return Home facilities in Washington state.
The practice also avoids the introduction of nonbiodegradable materials — such as concrete or plastic vaults, steel caskets or lacquers — to the atmosphere or land, and forest depletion for wood caskets, Bixby said. High levels of formaldehyde, which has been found to cause leukemia and rare cancers, would be protected from being exposed by human composting.
In December 2020, Recompose became the first human composting facility in the US. When she was in graduate school, she thought about human composting when she learned about livestock mortality composting.
Providing a better understanding of end-of-life options for families: A study by the National Funeral Directors Association and a survey of sustainable options
transparency is crucial as interest in more sustainable end-of-life options grows. A recent National Funeral Directors Association survey that found 60.5% of respondents were interested in exploring “green” funeral options because of potential environmental benefits, cost savings or other reasons.
“With our families, we never want them to be disturbed or upset believing something that isn’t,” Bixby said. “If you’re going to do something, if it’s environmentally conscious, we think that’s wonderful. But we want to be sure that people understand what they’re buying into.”
The beneficial microbes thrive in an environment in which the total carbon and nitrogen material is less than a certain amount.
Over the next 30 days, everything inside naturally decomposes. A body adds soil amendment, a substance added to soil to improve its texture or health, to a body of water and then cures it for two to six weeks. Afterward, it can be donated to conservation projects, or a certain amount can be returned to loved ones. The amount of money a loved one receives can depend on the amount the state allows and what people can do with their remains.
Knowing that the body will be allowed to return to the earth is comforting to many of our clients.
The Future of Funeral Services: How Fast Do They Go? Comment on Covid-19, Inc., and a Los Angeles Dispatch
Bixby said that most funeral homes don’t adopt the practice quickly. Direct cremation can be carried out on the same day as long as a permit is issued. A burial typically takes three to five days, while human composting can take up to 120.
“The problem I see, as far as this growing, is that you can’t do high volume,” Bixby said. “As long as this process is, having five or six (vessels) doesn’t do a lot of good. … As a businessman, my feeling is this really won’t gain much ground for that main reason.”
He added, “It doesn’t make a lot of practical sense. I do not like to make things about money, but at the same time, you need to keep the lights on if you are going to provide a service.
The growth in demand is in part due to Covid-19, experts say. Los Angeles had to suspend air pollution rules to process bodies from the Pandemic because the public was concerned about the environmental destruction.
“The fact that we are now seeing so many Californians flocking to Return Home in order to prepurchase services for themselves and their loved ones is proof-positive that [our technology] is the future of funeral services,” said Micah Truman, the company’s CEO and founder.
The industry of entrepreneurship is both friendly and competitive, with entrepreneurs often looking over their shoulders to see those who do not share their values in the industry. This is especially true as old guards of the funeral industry seek to cash in on the new trend, Truman said.
Natural Organic Reduction in Washington, D.C. : Campaign for an End to End Guarantee of Organic Reuse in the U.S.
In the years after, Spade worked with lobbyists, lawmakers, and investors to bring about natural organic reduction in Washington. Consumers were able to get the service at $7,000 by the end of 2020, equal to the cost of cremation and a funeral with burial. Cemetery plot costs can run upwards of several thousand dollars.