Story at a glance
- The New York state legislature passed a bill early this month legalizing the composting of human remains.
- Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has yet to sign the bill into law, but once she does, it will take effect in 90 days.
- Bill advocates argue composting is more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than burials and cremation.
New Yorkers could soon be able to compost their deceased loved ones.
Earlier this month, the New York state legislature passed a bill that would legalize composting the deceased in what advocates argue is greener and less costly than a traditional burial or cremation.
The process, called natural organic reduction, involves placing the body in an above-ground container where the process of biological decomposition is accelerated, turning the remains into soil, according to the bill.
“We’re glad to be one of the first states in the country to do it,” Democratic state Sen. Leroy Comrie, who represents southeastern Queens and sponsored the bill, told NY1. “This is an eco-friendly process compared to other options.”
Only a handful of other states have legalized composting the dead, including Washington, Oregon and Colorado. Washington became the first state to legalize the practice in 2019, and the law officially went into effect in May of 2020.
Recompose, a Washington state-based natural organic reduction company, states that it can turn a body into soil in just 30 days by laying the deceased in a vessel and covering it in wood chips, alfalfa and straw and letting the microbes in the human body and vegetation do the work.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has yet to sign the bill, but once she does, the law will go into effect in 90 days.
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