“The bill “may change the world,” said bill sponsor Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, adding that Washington could be a leader in environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional burial practices.
“What I think is remarkable is that this universal, human experience of death remains almost untouched by technology,” Pedersen said. “In fact, the only two methods for disposition of human remains that are authorized in our statutes have been with us for thousands of years: burying a body or burning a body.”
An alternative is human composting, the controlled, accelerated reduction of human remains into organic matter for use in soil. It involves covering a body with organic materials, like straw and wood chips, allowing it to break down over a few weeks. The result is a cubic yard of soil indistinguishable from other compost. The remnants could be taken home by family members, with the rest being scattered on conservation land around the Puget Sound.