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Wed May 22, 2019, 04:14 AM

Composting of human bodies now legal in Washington state

Source: NBC News

Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation Tuesday making Washington the first state to approve composting as an alternative to burying or cremating human remains.

May 21, 2019, 9:20 PM CDT / Source: Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — Ashes to ashes, guts to dirt.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation Tuesday making Washington the first state to approve composting as an alternative to burying or cremating human remains.

It allows licensed facilities to offer "natural organic reduction," which turns a body, mixed with substances such as wood chips and straw, into about two wheelbarrows' worth of soil in a span of several weeks.

Loved ones are allowed to keep the soil to spread, just as they might spread the ashes of someone who has been cremated — or even use it to plant vegetables or a tree.

"It gives meaning and use to what happens to our bodies after death," said Nora Menkin, executive director of the Seattle-based People's Memorial Association, which helps people plan for funerals.



Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/composting-human-bodies-now-legal-washington-state-n1008606

22 replies, 1352 views

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Composting of human bodies now legal in Washington state (Original post)
Judi Lynn May 22 OP
Wawannabe May 22 #1
Judi Lynn May 22 #2
keithbvadu2 May 22 #3
csziggy May 22 #6
keithbvadu2 May 22 #7
csziggy May 22 #9
Bayard May 22 #4
dhill926 May 22 #5
Hotler May 22 #8
NurseJackie May 22 #10
Hotler May 22 #11
Wawannabe May 22 #13
Duppers May 22 #12
Sapient Donkey May 25 #14
Kashkakat v.2.0 May 25 #15
hack89 May 25 #17
Kashkakat v.2.0 May 25 #20
hack89 May 26 #21
Baconator May 28 #22
geralmar May 25 #16
Kaleva May 25 #18
dalton99a May 25 #19

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 04:43 AM

1. Logged in to bookmark

Thanks Judi Lynn!

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Response to Wawannabe (Reply #1)

Wed May 22, 2019, 05:14 AM

2. This was a surprise to me! Thank you, Wawannabe.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 07:54 AM

3. Including the bones?

Including the bones?

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Response to keithbvadu2 (Reply #3)

Wed May 22, 2019, 10:55 AM

6. Especially the bones - we need the phosphate!

Bones contain a lot of phosphorus and the minable phosphate resources are dwindling rapidly.

My father and grandfather were mining engineers in the phosphate industry in Central Florida. Dad even consulted in Brazil and Peru to advise them on mining their phosphate. Now most of the known areas with phosphate are gone - turned into part of fertilizer mixes, distributed across fields and lawns, and washed into our waterways.

A couple of centuries ago mummies from Egypt were being ground up and spread on the fields of Europe - before people knew that part of the benefit was the phosphorus in their bones.

In the future phosphate will be very limited - and human bodies more valuable for the phosphorus they contain (among other things).

Phosphate: A Critical Resource Misused and Now Running Low

Phosphate has been essential to feeding the world since the Green Revolution, but its excessive use as a fertilizer has led to widespread pollution and eutrophication. Now, many of the world’s remaining reserves are starting to be depleted.

By Fred Pearce • July 7, 2011

If you wanted to really mess with the world’s food production, a good place to start would be Bou Craa, located in the desert miles from anywhere in the Western Sahara. They don’t grow much here, but Bou Craa is a mine containing one of the world’s largest reserves of phosphate rock. Most of us, most days, will eat some food grown on fields fertilized by phosphate rock from this mine. And there is no substitute.

<SNIP>

A century ago, much of the world’s internationally traded phosphate came from bones (a major English import at one time) and guano, excavated from Pacific islands where birds had been defecating phosphate for millions of years. But bones are not traded much any more, and most of the guano islands are now mined out. The island state of Nauru, for instance, is nothing more than a moonscape after decades of mining it to fertilize the grain fields of Australia.

<SNIP>

Phosphate strip mines are environment wreckers. They produce around 150 million tons of toxic spoil a year. Their massive draglines, huge slurry pipes, and mountainous spoil heaps dominate the landscape for tens of miles in key mining zones, whether in the North African desert or in Florida, a state that still provides three-quarters of American farmers’ phosphate needs.

The world’s largest mine is at Four Corners in an area known as Bone Valley in central Florida. The Four Corners mine covers 58,000 acres, an area five times the size of Manhattan. It is owned by Mosaic, a company recently spun off from agribusiness giant Cargill. Next door is the world’s second-largest mine, South Fort Meade. But South Fort Meade is living on borrowed time — its expansion plans are being opposed by local groups, and unless it can expand, the mine will have to close.

More: https://e360.yale.edu/features/phosphate_a_critical_resource_misused_and_now_running_out


My grandfather was a mining engineer at a Swift & Company mine in Bone Valley. His name is one of those on the patent for the process to remove the phosphate from the matrix. When Swift had mined all the phosphate around their company town, Agricola, they sold all the buildings in the town and mined where it stood. Now Agricola is not even a ghost mine, it is a name on a road that goes past mined out pits.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #6)

Wed May 22, 2019, 11:43 AM

7. I just wondered if the bones would dissolve so quickly.

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Response to keithbvadu2 (Reply #7)

Wed May 22, 2019, 01:03 PM

9. I think when they used mummies they ground them up

If you compost a body, I would bet there would be a grinding process involved, too. Even cremation has to process the bones since they often don't burn completely to ash.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 10:37 AM

4. I like the idea

But I wouldn't plant anything edible in that soil. A tree or perennial flowers would be good.

I'm surprised at the couple of weeks for "natural organic reduction". I mean.....they can still identify bodies for months after they've been buried somewhere.

AND, what about the bones? And I'm guessing you would be buried naked......a final indignity!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 10:50 AM

5. I wouldn't mind turning into a few...

sunflowers....

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 12:34 PM

8. In Seattle, wood chipper rentals up 20%.....

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Response to Hotler (Reply #8)

Wed May 22, 2019, 01:13 PM

10. Fargo is way ahead of the curve, apparently.



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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #10)

Wed May 22, 2019, 01:16 PM

11. cracked me up....I can almost

hear the motor starting to stall out a bit..

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Response to Hotler (Reply #8)

Wed May 22, 2019, 11:00 PM

13. Lol!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 01:26 PM

12. There's a ton of info on green burial here...

http://greenburialcouncil.org/

Been getting their newsletters for a few yrs now. Services and state laws change and these folks keep you updated.

I don't know about the immediate composting idea for myself or hubby...tho we all will be compost, eventually, except for the commonly used metal caskets and our bones. May take a thousand yrs, depending on embalming process. Wanna know about that? https://www.everplans.com/articles/the-embalming-process-explicit

I just wanna be wrapped in a sheet (no embalming) and put 6' under. Hubby wants to be cremated but that's polluting.

"Happy trails...."

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 03:40 PM

14. Stuff like this gives me more comfort with death

I particularly like the idea of living monuments trees that received nutrients from the remains of loved ones. Although, then my mind goes to a dark area of people selling their family member's dead bodies to large corporations that in turn use it to mass produce human remains compost that is used to grow trees for housing. Hopefully that won't happen since it won't make sense to do that.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 03:51 PM

15. May I be the first to say: EWWWWWW. Composting meat is not something youre supposed to do??? Why

should human flesh be any different?

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Response to Kashkakat v.2.0 (Reply #15)

Sat May 25, 2019, 06:46 PM

17. What do you think they do to dead farm animals?

Every big cow, pork or chicken farm composts dead animals.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #17)

Sat May 25, 2019, 10:52 PM

20. I dont know of any farmer that does that - do you mean factory farms? Ill say it again: EWWW

Youre not exactly convincing me to compost myself after I die.

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Response to Kashkakat v.2.0 (Reply #20)

Sun May 26, 2019, 08:41 AM

21. You could always Google the subject

I did and learned a lot. It’s a big country- can’t always count on personal experience.

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Response to Kashkakat v.2.0 (Reply #20)

Tue May 28, 2019, 09:49 AM

22. You never saw The Lion King?

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 10:34 PM

18. A body placed in a manure pile doe the same thing for far less cost

“She then bound his hands and tied his feet together, she dragged him out of the barn with one of their tractors,” the District Attorney described. “She then moved the body with a skidster to the manure pile and buried him. She knew that manure would decompose a body quick. She wanted him to decompose quick so no one would find him. After burying him, she continued on with her chores.”

https://www.inquisitr.com/3252670/charlene-mess-feces/

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #18)

Sat May 25, 2019, 10:45 PM

19. But, why did she do it?

But, why did she do it? Why kill her husband of three decades and the father of her children? According to the District Attorney, she loved her animals more than she loved her husband.

“She definitely loved her animals, so much so that she killed her husband,” O’Geen said. “Shortly before his death, Doug was looking into filing for divorce. He was sick of her alcoholism, her abuse, her lack of help on the farm. The divorce would have caused her to lose her animals and she couldn’t take that.”

Charlene Mess reportedly showed no emotion at her sentencing last week, and has never expressed remorse for the gruesome murder of her husband, Doug.

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