A California law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom makes it legal to turn human remains into compost.
The bill takes effect in 2027.
“Human composting, also known as natural organic reduction (NOR), would be an option for residents who don’t want to be buried or cremated upon their death – starting in 2027,” the Daily Mail stated.
“The process involves placing the body inside a long, reusable steel container along with wood chips and flowers to aerate it – allowing microbes and bacteria to do break down the remains.”
Unsurprisingly, California lawmakers passed the legislation in the effort to tackle ‘climate change.’
The bill was introduced by Democrat assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens).
Garcia argued that cremation is bad for the environment because there is a lot of carbon emissions.
“When we have a coffin and we put that into the ground, there’s a lot of chemicals that get leaked into the ground and often times it ends up in our water,” Cristina Garcia told KABC.
“When we do cremation there’s a lot of carbon emissions.”
ABC 7 reported:
Starting in 2027, a different burial method will be available for Californians after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that allows human composting.
AB 351, introduced by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), allows for the method in which human remains naturally decompose over a 30-to-45-day period and are turned into a soil. That human-composted soil can then be returned to the deceased’s family or donated to conservation land.
Supporters say it’s an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional end-of-life options.
California will join four other states in the country – Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Vermont – in allowing human composting.
“For me this is personal. I’m a caretaker. I’ve had to have these discussions with my family members about end-of-life and their wishes and their desires,” Garcia said.
Garcia said even though traditional end-of-life options like burials and cremation exist, Californians will soon be able to consider human composting.
“I’m excited that we’re doing something that for some individuals it’s about that experience they want to share with loved ones once they pass away,” Garcia said.
She said the new alternative is a respectful, cheaper and environmentally friendly way for humans to be returned back to Earth as soil.
“When we have a coffin and we put that into the ground, there’s a lot of chemicals that get leaked into the ground and often times it ends up in our water,” Garcia said. “When we do cremation there’s a lot of carbon emissions.”
Micah Truman, CEO of Return Home in Washington, said human composting is an eco-friendly option.
The California Catholic Conference objected and said human composting creates an “unfortunate spiritual, emotional, and psychological distancing from the deceased.”
From Catholic News Agency:
Kathleen Domingo, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, said the use of a body composting method originally developed for farm animals creates an “unfortunate spiritual, emotional, and psychological distancing from the deceased.” In addition, she said, the process “reduces the human body to simply a disposable commodity.”
The process will be available in California beginning in 2027. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, argued that the process is more economical and eco-friendly than traditional burial methods and could help to reduce overcrowding in cemeteries.
The Catholic Church does not have an official teaching on the composting of human bodies but has weighed in many times over the years on the practice of cremation. While strongly discouraged, cremation can be permissible under certain restrictions; notably, the remains are not to be scattered and must be kept in a sacred place, out of reverence for the Church’s teaching on the eventual resurrection of the body.