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Colorado lawmakers considering another death option: human composting

Posted at 12:10 PM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 14:11:09-05

DENVER — Colorado could become the second state to allow human composting as a third option when it comes to after death choices.

For most Coloradans there are two main choices after death: burial or cremation. Representative Brianna Titone and Senator Robert Rodriguez plan to bring a bill to the General Assembly that would give Coloradans another legal option: they can have their bodies turned into soil.

Natural Organic Reduction involves placing bodies in individual vessels and hastening gentle decomposition into a nutrient-dense soil that can then be returned to families.

Recompose is a public benefit corporation that offers an alternative choice to cremation and conventional burial methods with a process called “Natural Organic Reduction.” This natural process gently transforms human remains into soil, so that we can nourish new life after we die. Founded by Katrina Spade in Seattle and formerly known as the Urban Death Project, Recompose supports legislative approval in Colorado for the patent-pending Natural Organic Reduction process that will save valuable urban land for other purposes while also decreasing pollution of our air and soil.

Representative Titone and Senator Rodriguez are working to ensure that Colorado will become the second state to offer Natural Organic Reduction.

“This service embodies the spirit of Colorado’s way of life. In addition to freedom of choice for consumers and a positive environmental impact, Natural Organic Reduction will also benefit Colorado by bringing in a new, unique business opportunity that complements the state’s entrepreneurial nature,” commented Representative Titone.

“It’s not easy to think about after-death choices. Natural Organic Reduction offers an alternative to embalming and burial or cremation that is natural, safe, sustainable, and will result in significant savings in carbon emissions and land usage,” said Recompose CEO and founder Katrina Spade, inventor of NOR. Recompose is a death care company who will be offering natural organic reduction services as soon as 2021. “We look forward to working with Representative Titone and Senator Rodriguez to make sure this new alternative to conventional after-death practices is available to all Coloradans who want it.

To underscore the safety and viability of the Natural Organic Reduction process, Recompose partnered with Dr. Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, professor of Soil Science at the College of Agriculture, Humans, and Natural Resources Sciences at Washington State University. The university’s 2018 study found that the process exceeds public health and EPA requirements by maintaining a temperature that kills viruses, bacteria, and pathogens as well as stabilizing heavy metals in the soil.

The cost would be about $5,500 for the recompose service. A cremation can range from $1000-$7000, and a conventional burial is $8000 or more.

On May 21, 2019, Washington State’s Governor Jay Inslee signed SB 5001 which legalizes natural organic reduction, or “the contained, accelerated conversion of human remains to soil”. The law will go into effect on May 1, 2020.

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