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Ashes to ashes, dust to ... compost? Washington digs the idea of legalizing human composting.



VANCOUVER, Wash. (CIRCA via KATU) — The Washington State Legislature is considering a bill that would allow people to turn their loved ones' remains into compost.

The technology has been developed by the Urban Death Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit that is looking to advance the cause of more environmentally friendly post-life services.

Lynn King is a funeral director and embalmer at Straub's Funeral Home in Camas, Washington. She says "green burials" are becoming increasingly popular for her clients.

"People are really environmentally friendly up here, so we've seen an increase in the last year," King said.

King says there is a process similar to human composting that the state already allows. It's a water-based process but King says the material that's returned to families isn't as nutrient-rich as compost.

King claims customers in Southwest Washington choose cremation at rates well above the national average, but she doesn't anticipate her business will immediately shift to nontraditional burials if the legislature legalizes human composting.

"That won't reflect for many years, so when you see something new come about, it doesn't feel like it's really working for a long time," King said. "Because it takes the mentality of your consumers because it's all about consumer choice."


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