New York’s Law On Composting Dead People Makes It The Sixth State In The Us To Do So

It is possible to have a natural, green burial at the nature preserve cemetery that spans an area of 130 acres (52 hectares) and is located in the middle of protected forest land. This type of burial occurs when a body is placed in a biodegradable container and then into a gravesite so that it can decompose completely.

“Every single thing we can do to turn people away from concrete liners and fancy caskets and embalming, we ought to do and be supportive of,” she added. “Every single thing we can do to turn people away from concrete liners and fancy caskets and embalming.”

However, not everybody is on board with the notion. The New York State Catholic Conference, which is an organization that represents bishops in the state, has opposed the law for a very long time, stating that the method of burial is “wrong.”

“A process that is perfectly appropriate for returning vegetable trimmings to the earth is not necessarily appropriate for human bodies,” Dennis Poust, the executive director of the organization, said in a statement. “A process that is perfectly appropriate for returning vegetable trimmings to the earth is not necessarily appropriate for human bodies.”

“Human bodies are not household rubbish, and we do not feel that the method meets the norm of reverent care of our earthly remains,” he added. “We do not believe that the technique fulfills the requirement of reverent treatment of our earthly remains.”

According to Katrina Spade, the creator of Recompose in Seattle, which is a full-service green funeral home that offers human composting, the business provides an alternative for individuals who want the disposal of their remains to be in accordance with how they lived their lives. She stated that those that are environmentally conscious are “part of what feels like a movement.”

New York's Law On Composting Dead People Makes It The Sixth State In The Us To Do So
New York’s Law On Composting Dead People Makes It The Sixth State In The Us To Do So

According to Spade, “cremation consumes fossil fuels, and burial consumes a significant amount of land and has a carbon imprint.” The transformation of waste into soil, from which plants or trees might be grown, is an experience that has a significant influence on many people.

An investor named Howard Fischer, who is 63 years old and lives north of New York City, has a dream for when he passes away. He desires that his ashes be placed in a container, where they will be decomposed by microscopic organisms and composted into nutrient-dense soil.

Perhaps the decomposed remains of him could be planted in the yard of the family house in Vermont, or perhaps they could be interred in another part of the world. “After it’s over, my family may do anything they want with the compost if they want,” Fischer added. “I have no say in the matter.”

“My family is aware of my determination to have my body composted after my passing,” he went on to say. “However, I would much rather not have to go across the nation for it if it were to take place in New York, which is where I currently reside.”

The legislation to legalize natural organic reduction, more commonly referred to as human composting, was signed into law by Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul on Saturday. This makes New York the sixth state in the country to allow for the practice of human composting.

In 2019, the state of Washington became the first state to pass legislation that made it legal to compost human waste. This was quickly followed by Colorado and Oregon in 2021, followed by Vermont and California in 2022.

Fischer believes that his philosophical outlook on life, which is to live in an environmentally conscientious manner, is aligned with this alternative and environmentally friendly method of burial.

The body of the deceased person is placed into a receptacle that can be reused, together with plant material such as wood chips, alfalfa, and straw. The next step in the procedure is the cremation. The organic mixture provides the ideal environment for naturally occurring bacteria to carry out their functions, resulting in a rapid and thorough decomposition of the body in a period of around one month.

The final product is a heaping cubic yard of nutrient-dense soil amendment. This is approximately the same as 36 bags of soil, and it can be used to grow trees or improve conservation areas, woods, or gardens. It can be considered as a relatively tempting option to burial in urban locations such as New York City, where there is a limited amount of land available.

Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve is located in central New York. Its manager, Michelle Menter, stated that the institution would “seriously examine” the alternate option. She went on to say that “that is most certainly more consistent with what we do.”

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