The Third Option

I recently saw this photo on Facebook. Cute!

About two days later, I ran across a newspaper article: “Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Or compost.” Apparently there really is a third way, although the shredding part is a bit extreme.

Legislation has been signed in Washington state to allow human remains to be turned into compost. Katrina Spade, the main advocate of the legislation and founder of a company that is pioneering the method known as “aboveground decomposition”, said “Washington is progressive when it comes to the environment and death care.”

As you might imagine, there is some opposition. The Catholic Church said composting ran contrary to church doctrine. “Disposing human remains in such a manner fails to show enough respect for the body of the deceased,” wrote the executive director the the Washington state Catholic Conference.

But history is on the law’s side. Composting is actually an ancient alternative to burial, although it is rare in this country.

So will this catch on? It will be interesting to see. There are environmental benefits, so my guess is it will depend on how aggressively the environmental movement pushes it. In an event, the new law takes effect in May of next year.

The original article can be found at

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