UNITED STATES: Kathy Hochul, the governor of New York, allowed natural organic reduction—also referred to as human composting or terramation—after death on Saturday.
The legislative action makes New York the sixth state to do so since 2019 and provides residents access to a different, “green” manner of burial that is said to be environmentally benign.
However, the dead cannot just be thrown on the compost pile. They must be transported to a cemetery corporation that has been granted certification as an organic reduction facility. The cemetery must be appropriately contained and ventilated and free of “a battery, battery pack, power cell, radioactive implant, or radioactive device.”
Human composting was first made legal in Washington in 2019, then in Colorado and Oregon in 2021, Vermont in 2022, and California in 2023. A382, a piece of New York law, was approved by both assemblies this summer.
The corpse is typically placed into a reusable, partially-open container with bedding that is suitable for bacteria to work on, such as wood chips, hay, or straw. A heaping cubic yard of nutrient-rich soil, or 36 bags of dirt, is created at the end of the operation, which can then be utilized as fertilizer.
“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,” said Michelle Menter, manager of the central New York location of Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve. Menter stated that her company would seriously investigate the technique.
Due to the subject, Hochul had become embroiled in a political controversy. She has frequently discussed how her Irish, Catholic ancestry shaped her political viewpoint and has stated that she is a proud Irish-American.
The New York State Catholic Conference urged members of the clergy to put pressure on Hochul to veto the legislation. According to the Catholic Courier, the organization claimed that the procedure “does not provide the respect due to bodily remains.”
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