New York’s Albany A 63-year-old investor named Howard Fischer, who lives north of New York City, has a wish for the day he passes away. He desires that his remains be disposed of in a container where they will be decomposed by minute bacteria and turned into nutrient-rich soil.
Perhaps the composted remains of his body could be planted somewhere else, such as the yard of the family’s Vermont home. It is entirely up to my family to decide what to do with the compost once it is finished, said Fischer.
My family is aware that I am determined to have my body composted, he continued. But rather than having to transport myself across the nation, I would prefer for it to take place in New York, where I currently reside.
On Saturday, Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation making human composting, also known as natural organic reduction, lawful in New York, making it the sixth state in the union to do so.
New York Passes A Law Allowing Human composting
Human composting was first made legal in Washington State in 2019, then in Colorado and Oregon in 2021, Vermont and California in 2022, and finally Vermont and California in 2023.
The procedure is as follows: the body of the departed is placed into a reusable vessel together with plant material such as wood chips, alfalfa, and straw. For Fischer, this alternative, green manner of burial coincides with his philosophical approach to life: to live in an environmentally responsible way. The organic mixture creates the ideal environment for naturally occurring bacteria to carry out their tasks, effectively decomposing the body in roughly a month.
In the end, you’ll have a heaping cubic yard of nutrient-dense soil amendment—about 36 bags of soil—that you may use to plant trees in or improve gardens, woodlands, or conservation areas.
It can be considered as a relatively appealing burial choice for urban locations with little lands, like New York City. A cemetery in central New York, Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve, indicated it would “seriously consider” using a different approach, according to manager Michelle Menter.
It obviously fits with what we do better, she continued.
The 52-hectare (130-acre) nature preserve cemetery is tucked within a protected forest area and offers natural, green burials, in which a body is buried in a graveyard with a container made of biodegradable materials so that it can completely decay.”We ought to do and support all we can to discourage individuals from using beautiful caskets, concrete liners, and embalming,” she stated.
But not everyone agrees with the concept.
The law has long been opposed by the New York State Catholic Conference, an organization that speaks for the state’s bishops and calls the burial practice “inappropriate.”
Dennis Post, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement: “A method that is completely fine for returning vegetable trimmings to the land is not necessarily appropriate for human bodies.”
He remarked, “We do not believe that the process satisfies the requirement of reverent treatment of our earthly remains. Human beings are not household rubbish.
Recompose, a full-service green funeral home in Seattle that includes human composting was founded by Katrina Spade. She stated it provides a different option for people who wish to align the disposition of their remains with how they lived.
It “feels like a movement,” she said, among those who are ecologically conscious.
According to Spade, “cremation uses fossil fuels, and burial uses a lot of space and leaves a carbon impact.” “Being transformed into dirt that can grow into a garden or tree is pretty significant for a lot of people,”