It is the sixth American state to legalize this process, which remains prohibited in France.
New York State became the sixth US state on Saturday December 31 to legalize human composting, after authorization from its Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul. This process, also callednatural organic reduction“, is presented as more responsible for the environment and consists in accelerating the decomposition of the body.
The body is placed in a semi-open container. It is surrounded by wood shavings, alfalfa or straw, which promotes the action of microbes. According to the New York Post the box in which the body is located is connected to a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, allowing bacteria to “to work” in the best conditions. The process initially lasts 60 days, depending on the New York Post. Thirty days later, the contents of the box are analyzed and the remaining bones broken. Another thirty days later, the remains in the container are returned to the family. According to BBC this can be used to plant flowers, vegetables or trees.
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An ecological process
For Katrina Spade, founder of Recompose, an eco-friendly funeral home in Seattle that offers human composting, quoted by The Guardian“cremation uses fossil fuels and burial uses a lot of land and has a carbon footprint“. “For many people, being transformed into land that can be transformed into a garden or a tree has a huge impact“, she added to Associated Press.
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New York State is therefore the sixth US state to legalize this process. Washington was first in 2019, followed by Colorado and Oregon in 2021 and then Vermont and California in 2022.
In France, this process remains prohibited. Mentioned in 2016 by the then senator of the Rhône Élisabeth Lamure in a written question, the Ministry of the Interior replied that “its introduction into domestic law would raise important questions, relating in particular to the lack of legal status of the particles resulting from this technique and its compatibility with article 16-1-1 of the civil code“.