Apparently, the state of Washington takes its motto, “The Evergreen State,” very seriously. In fact, it could well become the first state in the nation to allow the “composting” of dead humans. While this doesn’t seem particularly sentimental, Sen. Jamie Pedersen (D) told NBC News that “people from all over the state” have written to him excited about having an alternative to a boring old burial or garden-variety cremation.
Pedersen, who is sponsoring the bill and is expected to introduce it to the legislature later this month, says many residents are thrilled with the prospect of becoming a tree through the process of “recomposition.” The process utilizes alkaline hydrolysis to dissolve bodies with water and lye until “just liquid and bone remain.” The bodies are placed in a vessel filled with nutrient-rich soil so they rapidly decompose, after which is given to the families, according to the NBC News report. They can then use said soil/dear old dad to fertilize a plant or a tree.
discerning Democrat says: “The aim is a less expensive way of dealing with
human remains that is better for the environment than burial, which can leach
chemicals into the ground, or cremation, which releases earth-warming carbon
Composting a loved one, or “recomposition,” costs around $5,500 on average, compared to a traditional funeral’s price of over $7,000, and cremation’s price tag of about $1,000, not including service and urn. This leads me to believe that the push for human composting isn’t about saving money, but aligns with progressive’s views on the relative worth of humans vis-à-vis the environment.
“Credit” for the idea apparently goes to Katrina Spade, a Seattle-based designer, who came up with it in 2013 while she was pursuing a master’s degree in architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. It’s not surprising that a college student thought of this (that’s not a compliment to colleges or their students), but one in architecture?! Katrina must have had some spare time to let her creativity run wild. Odder still, she originally called her idea “The Urban Death Project” before changing it to “Recompose.” The latter certainly sounds much less sinister than the former.
The definition of composting is: “to convert a material such as vegetable matter or manure into compost.” The definition of compost is: “decayed organic matter used as fertilizer.” No shit?
Pining for a way to be reborn? Don’t lose your composure. Forget about a traditional burial. Forget about lying in a peaceful repose for eternity. Recompose. In this day and age, it’s not enough to hug a tree. Become one!
Will the circle be unbroken
When I croak, Lord, when I croak
There’s a better home a-waiting
In an oak, Lord, in an oak
(I’m sure the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band would’ve been big fans of human composting)