Colo. Has Its First Set of Legally Composted Human Remains

Body was turned into soil over 6 months in 'natural reduction'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2022 3:00 AM CDT
Their Body Was Turned Into Soil, Spread
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / Duncan Cuthbertson)

(Newser) – Less than a year after "natural reduction," or human body composting, was legalized in Colorado, the state has laid to rest its first legally composted human remains. The law allows people to choose to have their bodies turned into soil after they die, which is said to be more sustainable than a traditional burial or cremation, NBC News reports. The anonymous person's remains were put into a chamber at the Natural Funeral six months ago, along with wood chips, alfalfa, straw, and microbial beings. The natural digestion and conversion process takes six months, and about a pickup truck bed's worth of soil is produced.

During a Sunday ceremony at the Colorado Burial Preserve, to which the deceased's family donated the remains, dozens of people spread the soil. "They were laid in as a beloved and they will lay out as a living soil gift back to this preserve," the owner of the Natural Funeral tells 9 News. "It will nourish the land that’s here. It will be a foundation for the seeds that we’re mixing into that soil today. It’ll be the foundation of life here forever." Since that person, 15 more sets of remains have been interred at the facility, which charges $7,900 for natural reduction. Washington state became the first place in the US to legalize the process, followed by Colorado; this year, an Oregon law allowing the practice will take effect, KOIN reports. (Read more Colorado stories.)

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