Washington State Implementing “Eco-Friendly” Accelerated Composting of Dead People, to Reduce Carbon Emissions

From the almost “Soylent Green” department.

Ervik Graveyard

Ervik Graveyard Midnight. Gunnvor Karita [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Breitbart – the text of the bill makes it clear the new law is to save energy and improve the environmental friendliness of disposing of dead people.

From the bill;

SENATE BILL REPORT ESSB 5001

As Passed Senate, February 6, 2019 Title: An act relating to human remains.

Brief Description: Concerning human remains.

Brief Summary of Engrossed First Substitute Bill

  • Adds alkaline hydrolysis and natural organic reduction as allowable reduction methods for handling deceased persons’ bodies for their disposition.
  • Provides licensing and inspection regulations for reduction facilities.
  • Updates statutes governing the disposition of human remains and facilities offering these services to include alkaline hydrolysis and natural organic reduction.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony on Original Bill: The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: Everyone faces the decision of how to dispose of human remains. For a world that has been remade by technology, making many things better, cheaper and environmentally friendly, it is pretty astonishing that in 2019 we are left with two legal ways to dispose of human remains; both of which that have been around for thousands of years. This bill will allow two additional ways that are both cheaper, accessible to more people, and more environmentally friendly. Alkaline hydrolysis produces virtually the same result as cremation but using dramatically less energy.

Recomposition, which will be the first law of its kind in the U.S. and possibly the world, has an output of about a cubic yard of soil, indistinguishable from other soil. There was a recomposition pilot program conducted at WSU, which met all safety thresholds outlined by the Department of Ecology. The process for recomposition is similar to those used for animals. The body is covered in straw and wood chips and over a couple of weeks is broken down into soil. This process is safe and effective for human disposition. It is natural, gentle, and sustainable, reducing carbon emissions. It uses one-eighth of the energy of cremation.

In collaborating with funeral directors around the state, it is clear that Washington residents want more end of life choices. One quarter of families are asking for more green options. This is also good for small businesses that wish to provide these options. This is exciting and there is no reason these options should not be available. DOL has asked for a delayed effective date so that they can build this into their new computer system, reducing the fiscal impact.

Source: 5001-S.E SBR APS 19 (original link here ).

According to the Breitbart report, Washington State officials plan to give the family of the deceased first dibs on the “soil” produced by composting dead loved ones, otherwise the soil would be distributed to local conservation groups, where it would be used to help nourish the land.

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105 thoughts on “Washington State Implementing “Eco-Friendly” Accelerated Composting of Dead People, to Reduce Carbon Emissions

    • I have the same worry that surrounds bio-slugde. Where does all the pharmaceutical, heavy metals,viruses & non biodegradable poison come from that has made the bio- sludge come from that our government is praying on fIelds rendering them contaminated & no longer organic? Poop, who’s poop? Human poop which comes from human bodies. See where I’m going with this? Toxic soil.

      • thats correct re the pharma and other contamination
        they probably could filter pharmas out as well as the household chem thats used so heavily too
        be far better to stop using the chemicals in the home and only have one issue to contend with.
        if its not in the sludge its also in he water thats pumped back into rivers and oceans.
        theyre always having a go at farmers for polluting watewrways but theres a lot more citydwellers doing worse daily.

        we are a small town with town effluent ponds the wildlife swims and seeks food from, efforts I made to educate the town to use safer chem were ignored.
        the waste from the local hospital is a HUGE risk to public health from disease and drug wastes, especially as the pump the water onto town reserves and the ovals and golf greens. where they remove the solids to is unknown

    • God forbid they clean up some of the dead compost in the forests and reduce wildfires.

      But nope, can’t touch that.
      It’s ‘natural’.

  1. Progessive-socialists have always wanted to treat people like they were mushrooms.
    Now they take it to next level, turning people into actual mushrooms.

    So maybe they are just planning ahead for the untold millions of dead their energy policies will produce??

  2. Why don’t they just feed the bodies to vultures and be done with it? If you’re going to regard the dead as carrion, then be open about it.

    • They’ve actually been doing it with livestock for a very long time; basically, you stash ’em in the manure pile for a couple of months, which will “heat” and have bioactive bacteria break down all the soft parts of the carcass. All that’s left are the bones, which can then be buried or rendered. “Composting” is actually recommended in some places as a supposedly “greener” alternative to burial as it’s less likely to affect ground water. or so they say. Personally, I say the progressives can all compost each other if they’d like.

    • I watched it, but never thought we would get this close. The article soft-pedaled it, but we now have dead people turned into fertilizer.

      • It’s like everything people say Progressives will NEVER do.

        But they WILL – every time – the very second they can.

    • The movie never addressed what went on outside the walls of the cities. Since NYC in the movie was so polluted and overpopulated that you could barely breathe or move, people were trapped there. It could happen. But what was it like outside those walls…?

      • The writers knew the world could not fill to overflowing by 2000, so they created a plot that has everyone confined inside a limited area. By letting us use our imagination they didn’t have to present a reason for the confinement that would seem reasonable to everybody. Each person is thereby encouraged to imagine their own version of what outside conditions were.

        SR

        • I’ve come to assume that everything outside the overcrowded megalopolises of ‘Soylent Green’ was actually a vibrant and healthy nature preserve, kept perfect and unspoiled by man by a socialist world government.

          The reason for the food shortages is that there simply isn’t anywhere left to grow it. All the farms have been ‘reclaimed’ and larger and larger areasize of the sea have been made off limits.

          In fact, even the overcrowding is forced. Hardly any children are shown. People are actively encouraged to suicide. The only way Soylent Green COULD be ‘made of people’ is if the population was going through a crash.

          Somewhere in the background of ‘Soylent Green’ is a far Leftist society, living the good life, while implementing a Brave New World based on the Georgia Guidestones.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Guidestones

          ~¿~

      • ‘But what was it like outside those walls…?’

        Well, based on the movements of government in states like Oregon – you didn’t get to LIVE outside those walls. It’s high-density hell-hole or nothin’.
        ‘Logan’s Run’ addressed that particular side of issue.

    • 😉 theyre onto it like flies mate.
      some talk of reduced costs?
      ha ha ha theyre saying 5k or more to compost you opposed to 12k avg to cremate
      BOTH of those figures are outright robbery

  3. Unlike most of these “green alternatives” this sounds reasonable. Embalming and burial or internment in a concrete vault always seemed unnecessary to me and incineration does use a fair amount of energy and destroys some useful compounds that could be returned to the soil.

    I think both of those previous methods should be available to people that prefer them but I see no problem letting people choose these new methods. And this bill has no provisions to stop people from choosing the old ways.

    • Lancifer, Cynthia, You are unaware of the “Thin-Edge-of-the-Wedge” policy development mechanism invented by socialist/communist regimes. Agenda 21 is an example of motherhood-appearing, ‘sensible’ goals with no mention of the future tightening of the screws on the process of undermining the pillars of freedom and ownership and control of private property.
      Look up and find out who Maurice Strong is – the creator of UNEP and UNFCC and the IPCC and the Kyoto Protocol.

      Gee folks, the party you vote for is there in name only. Its not the party you think it is. They have outsourced their constituency which is a global one, not those who voted for them, at least until voting is no longer nexessary – your grandchildren won’t realize it used to be different.

      Look up and find out who Maurice Strong is – the creator of UNEP and UNFCC and the IPCC and the Kyoto Protocol. Read Not a Shot Was Fired by Jan Kozak. At least read the blurb on it at Amazon books and a few reviews.

      https://www.amazon.com/Not-Shot-Fired-Jan-Kozak/dp/189264701X

      • The basic problem is see is that from the article the Greens have already decided these new methods are ‘better’.

        And when have the Greens ever let people choose when they’ve allready decided what the ‘right’ choice is?

  4. Anthony,
    You really mustn’t post these The Onion articles without identifying them as such. It gives true environmentalism like power plant scrubbers and catalytic converters unwelcome company.

    Human remains composting, puhleeeeze…..

  5. Funeral Home:….”Can I interest you in Alkaline Hydrolysis? It’s environmentally friendly, your friends on Facebook will love it….just a 97% up-charge, think of the Children and your lasting legacy….the Pope has sanctioned it!

    • Except that the production of the NaOH requires vast amounts of electricity to produce and that electricity needs to be reliable. Additionally quite a lot of the weapon of mass destruction Cl2 is produced which would destroy the O3 layer even more.

      Composting would be even worse with the rather smelly substances cadaverine and putrescine being produced. I would not like to work in any plant where these substances are produced and I’ve worked in some quite smelly places (Kraft pulp mills before the current strict emission controls were implemented).

  6. Socialists don’t decompose, they just get older, like Bernie! Or, if they are special, they radiate out of the atmosphere and help to cool our boiling planet.

    • From their local advertising pamphlet, “Dried, crushed & restituted in urns”.
      German laws allow the remaining “neutral and eco friendly liquid” to be disposed in the sewage.

  7. Sounds like a great idea to me.
    Composting should be allowed if people want it.
    I would prefer to be composted and spread in a forest,
    especially if it is cheaper for my family.

    • I want to be returned as quickly as possible to the universe.
      I don’t want to be locked all alone to decay in a box with a bunch of disgusting bacteria.
      Monsignor (Roman Catholic) asked me if I was trying to avoid the resurrection. How crazy is that?

      • Yeah, dead is dead.

        Why keep your corpse isolated from the nature that sustained it through out your life?

        I’m no Christian, but doesn’t the bible say,

        “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
        Genesis 3:19, KJV

    • then allowing burial in the forest in a cotton shroud by the family would be even better for you and them
      but no one makes a buck off of you if you do.
      its rather interesting to see how few actual owners there are for funeral companies
      they may have a varying name but often are owned by one of the 3 monopoly corporations behind it.
      hence the tight price fixing and insane costs

  8. Next … accelerated death to thin the human herd. It’s all written right into Obamakkare. No heroic measures shall be taken.

  9. Wait. Wouldn’t the greenest way to handle dead bodies be to seal then up in airtight coffins, bury them, and sequester all that carbon for centuries?

    Regardless, India has so many open-air cremations that, once again, whatever Washington State does is absolutely meaningless.

  10. Ok, I came here hoping to see some intelligent reporting and discussion. Boy, was I wrong. I try to have meaningful communications with people even if I disagree with them. But first there has to be some semblance of reality.

    I can’t find that here.

    To equate elected representatives responding to the needs and wants of their communities to a dystopian science fiction novel is nothing but paranoid conspiracy-bating at it’s worth.

    The whole lot of you should instead volunteer to move to Southern Florida (I will contribute to the travel funds) and you can blissfully continue to ignore reality while the ocean rises to swallow you up.

    Good luck.

      • only works on thin ones;-) imagine 300kg obesity- the size of the hole even upright would be damned hard to drill. they already had make supersized oven for crematoria..the fat was spilling out and some fires ensued.

    • “continue to ignore reality while the ocean rises to swallow you up.”

      It is you who are ignoring reality.

      Considering there’s been no acceleration whatsoever in sea level rise in at least a hundred years (according to NOAA), any future change in sea level can be adapted to in the same way we have in the past.

      http://www.sealevel.info/MSL_NOAA2013_60yr_thumbs.html

      You’re not one of those science deniers are you?

    • think a bit yourself. wether the bodies in ground as is or composted the co2 and other outputs have to remain the same. by all means increase the personal options
      but DONT try and use the stupid co2 scam as a reason
      banning embalming and the whacky sealed plastic coffins used in usa would be smart though

    • Sad Realist February 10, 2019 at 8:14 pm:
      “The whole lot of you should instead volunteer to move to Southern Florida (I will contribute to the travel funds) and you can blissfully continue to ignore reality while the ocean rises to swallow you up.”

      Well, I moved to southwest Florida near the beach 28 years ago and am happy to report that I am still here and so is the beach. In fact I took a nice walk there yesterday, temperatures around 82F with an off shore breeze. Water was on 62F so no way I was going in.

    • Sad Realist,
      Do you pay by CashApp?
      Please send your contact info.
      The maximum per week under CashApp is $7500.
      If you send that ASAP, I will be happy to start my move as soon as practical.
      Sincerely,
      hunter

  11. I like the idea of composting. I never liked the idea of a sealed casket and a grave vault. And, cremation is forbidden by my religion. I want to be wrapped in an embroidered shroud and composted. And, I want the compost to be used to plant an oak, or maybe a beech, somewhere where my family can sit under the tree when it has grown.

  12. So, the state of Washington believes that composting reduces CO2. From the website ChemMatersOnline, here’s the chemical equation involved in composting. Not that CO2 is evolved in the composting process.

    Aerobic composting

    Two types of bacteria—called mesophilic and thermophilic—are usually present in organic waste. Mesophilic bacteria grow best in moderate temperatures, typically between 20 °C (68 °F) and 45 °C (113 °F), while thermophilic bacteria grow best in higher temperatures, usually between 40 °C (104 °F) and 65 °C (150 °F).

    At the beginning of the process, mesophilic bacteria predominate. As they break down chemical compounds in waste, they generate heat and the compost pile becomes increasingly warmer. One reaction that takes place during aerobic composting is the oxidation of glucose (C6H12O6), a simple sugar present in plants, as follows:

    C6H12O6 + 6 O2 ➞ 6 CO2 + 6 H2O + heat energy

    • This isn’t really about reducing CO2.
      It is about moral superiority.
      As Thomas Sowell said, “It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance.”

  13. Sounds like a burial choice to me. Maybe we can decide for the politicians and just leave their rotting corpses on display——as an example to hubris and overreach.

    • Lenin and Mao were embalmed and put on display, though some claim the real body of Mao was replaced with a wax sculpture…

    • Agree and preferably in a local park so we can all see it happen and be inspired! In fact thy could perhaps go early to ensure that we understand their great example to us peasants.

      I find it truly frightening to see where we have got to . We no longer have representative government where the politicians are elected to meet our needs and do our bidding. Instead we have fruit loops telling us what to do.

      Enough, a pox on all your houses. Soylent Green was not a totally bad movie at the time. I did not think it was a documentary any more than I thought 1984 was a manifesto rather than a novel but we are nearly there and only 40 years late. What is truly scary for the human race is that it is only western democracies doing this . Everyone else is building power stations , increasing emissions and waiting until the lights go out before waltzing in and taking what is left of our society over. All the useful fools perpetuating this rubbish will be the first to the gulags based on history – which they all think is bunk and therefore irrelevant.

      I am glad I am getting old – and now I intend to research the most energy intensive method I can find to dispose of me – which i think is cremation, which I had already chosen anyway.

  14. Alkaline hydrolysis – presumably the same as the former custom of burying the bodies of executed criminals in quicklime.

  15. Before the cult of Christanty spread to the rest of Europe, especially the colder parts, the people of the Middle East simply buried them.

    In the dry and warm condition, with usually no heavy rain, the bodies simply rotted away.

    At that time the people of the North cremated their dead, so no pollution of the water supply, that is until Christanty arrived and with it burial.So now we had polluted water supplies.

    The church fought against cremation for a long time, such is progress.

    MJE

  16. Washington State, thus having created a less expensive manner of passing on, will become an attraction — like dung to insects — for people about to die.
    “Junior, take me to WA and it won’t cost so much. Be more money for the grandkids.”

    We will need a wall to keep riffraff out. Let’s see: Oregon, Idaho, and B. C. can pay for it.

  17. Just like used to do with executed criminals, dig a hole and fill it with lime.

    Going to be interesting if they make an exception for Muslims.

  18. Look guys, at the end of the day, when you’re dead, your dead. One way or another you are going back to the earth, be it in a coffin, cremated or in this new dehydrated way. Your still gonna be compost, wether you like it or not. I’m all for the idea. You don’t need headstones or marble plaques to be remembered by. I mean, let’s face it, jump a generation or two and you’ll hardly be remembered anyway, unless someone looks on the family tree. I hope they bring it here to the UK. I’d love to know I’m gonna physically put something back into this poor knackered old planet of ours.

  19. It’s disgusting… Typical for the Americans to come up with such a revolting way to treat dead people but to offer the relatives soil made from this is just sick. Sounds like the person who thought of this needs a nice padded cell just like the one that says it’s ok to do it. And anyway sometimes humans have all kinds of diseases that shouldn’t be allowed to mingle in the earth as it could damage the eco system, kill animals, leech into water etc… Respect the dead letting them rot in the back hard is awful plus straw and dark chips aren’t going to deter an animal from digging a corpse up and eating it. America is known for its large wild animals and would you like to think your relative could e its lunch ?

  20. A human body will produce exactly the same amount of CO2 by decomposing, whether in the ground or as compost, or eaten by scavengers or by cremation. It will just happen a bit faster or slower. The extra fuel needed by cremation is of course an addition.

    The traditional “six feet under” method seems to be good enough to me.

  21. In Germany was a rumor about interdiction of long distance, including air transport of non cremated human remains. Never became a reality, guess higher spheres considered religious differences as many opt for final rest in their countries of origin.

    Aquamation is widely advertised, the final product being a “neutral eco friendly liquid disposed in the sewage system” while crushed dried bones are returned in urns.

    Burials on private land, pets inclusive, are prohibited for as long as I can remember.

    Airborne disposal of ashes above land and sea are officially a no-no.

  22. Even the dead are wrecking the planet…

    “Climate change is…a gross injustice – Barbara Stocking, CEO of Oxfam GB, Global Humanitarian Forum, May 29, 2009

    Earth’s entire history is one of gross injustice. Who knew?

  23. “by composting dead loved ones,”

    ”DUH”, that’s not a new idea.

    Dead bodies have been being “composted” ever since Europeans started immigrating to North America.

    When someone died or was killed a grave was quickly dug and they were put in the hole and covered over. The only purpose of a wooden casket was for transporting the dead body. Then a casket became “fashionable” along with morticians and “for-profit” business sprung up everywhere.

    Then secure caskets and vaults became Law ….. to prevent contamination of groundwater supplies.

  24. Curious.

    Many lifeforms use acidic digestive fluids, not alkaline. What makes ‘alkaline’ decomposition natural?

    And why are they pretending this compost method is any better than burial?

    The six feet rule came about for multiple reasons, including;
    Isolating disease sources,
    Preventing topsoil disturbances from exposing past burials,
    Preventing natural disasters from exposing cadavers. e.g. New Orleans and hurricanes,
    Separating human environments from decompositional odors.

  25. Perhaps there should be a green recycling bin for humans to be placed curbside for removal with the other trash. No fuss, no bother, let someone else handle it all.

  26. It should be pointed out that there are two very different alternative methods that are being proposed. The one involving covering with wood chips and straw would be the far-cheaper one of natural organic reduction, and could take up to 7 weeks, depending on the conditions. Not mentioned is what would happen with the bones, as those would not break down.
    The other, more expensive option involves use of a stainless steel chamber into which the body is placed, then water and potash lye (potassium hydroxide) added, and then the chamber is heated to about 350 deg. This process does dissolve the bones.
    People should have options. The “green” label is a silly one, but whatever helps people in their time of grief is fine.

  27. Gaia is watching you……for your compost value. Let’s hope they don’t get started with recycling tax credits for this too.

  28. The real question on the west coast is whether this helps marijuana plants grow faster or not. That is all that matters there now.

  29. Seriously – these people just sit around and brainstorm on what they can do next – that’s why it will never be enough – never mind there was never a problem to be solved in the first place.

  30. The Greens now want their hooks in you after you die. Horrible people….

    Soylent Green certainly can’t be far away, assuming society doesn’t destroy itself before we reach that level.

  31. Turning human into cheap fertilizer, it speaks eloquently about the people who propose this nonsense. The left’s beloved “primitive people” around the world put a very high value on the burial grounds of their ancestors.

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