COLORADO SPRINGS — Author's note: A previous version of this article noted Return to Nature Funeral Home was interested in providing human composting in the future. The funeral home has since publicly announced they do not plan to offer the service.
As the saying goes- two things are certain in life: death and taxes. Colorado lawmakers are now considering another option for people to honor the passing of their loved ones: composting.
The bill came up in 2020, but with the pandemic- it didn't end up making it through. In 2021, lawmakers are taking a look at the bill once again. It would give an alternative to burial and cremation.
"One thing that we don't think about is how our body can actually naturally become part of the earth," Lauren Carroll, Funeral Director and Manager of Return to Nature Funeral Home in Colorado Springs.
Carroll, who runs a green funeral home in the springs likes the idea of human composting.
"I think to have land to be able to have the machines to do this and then to be able to actually use the compost would be really ideal." Carroll said.
It's something she's seen interest in. Carroll testified at the capitol in support of the bill in 2020 on behalf of herself.
"Every time it's in the news we have someone calling us saying, I want to become compost do you guys do that?" Carroll said.
Currently, environmentally focused and green efforts are a big priority for Return to Nature Funeral Home. The home offers natural burials, without embalming, with pine or wicker caskets, and even with shroud, which Carroll noted is the most popular.
Carroll says the possibilities with composting would allow people to plant trees with their loved ones along with other options. "You literally are becoming part of the earth again," Carroll said.
Natural Organic Reduction (NOR) involves placing bodies in vessels to turn into soil that can then be returned to families. Currently, Washington state is the only place in the country to have a similar law on the books.
"Most people like the idea of becoming a tree," Carroll said. Currently, the funeral home uses a non-profit for families to plant a tree in honor of loved ones that have died. "To actually become a tree, to have your loved one give any sort of nutrient, the organic composting is going to the most efficient way to do that."
The bipartisan bill is sponsored by Senator Robert Rodriguez (D- Denver), Rep. Matt Soper (R- Delta), and Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Arvada). So far, the bill has received unanimous support. To see the full text of the bill click here: Human Remains Natural Reduction Soil.
If the bill passes, it would also add crimes with human remains turned into soil including performing natural reduction without permission and selling the soil.