NEW YORK (PIX11) — New York is now the sixth state to legalize human composting, making “green burials” a possibility for those looking for an eco-friendly alternative when saying goodbye to a loved one.
Natural organic reduction, a process also known as terramation, is when human remains are gently transformed into soil. Gov. Kathy Hochul just legalized it on Saturday and Micah Truman, CEO of Return Home – a company the specializes in terramation – says New Yorkers are interested.
“These phones are really ringing these last couple of days, of course, with New Yorkers asking a lot of questions and also wanting to pre-purchase the service,” Truman said.
The company is based in Washington state, the first state to legalize the practice. Return Home has almost 500,000 followers on TikTok and they show how the process works by using a fake skeleton.
The human body is placed into a reusable vessel on top of plant material, such as alfalfa, straw, and sawdust. Remaining material then covers the body and the microbes do their work.
“The microbes in our bodies, the stuff that digests the food we eat, is sort of miraculous,” Truman said. “It transforms our food into energy and it transforms us returning us back to the earth.”
The soil can then be used however the family pleases, such as planting a new tree or putting it into a flower bed.
The New York bill allows cemetery corporations to perform natural organic reduction. Hochul plans to submit a Program Bill to the Legislature to allow others to perform it, but not everyone is on board. The New York State Catholic Conference says the process would be “more appropriate for vegetable trimmings and eggshells than for human bodies.”
“They’ve stated that they believe that this does not show love and reverence to the human body,” Truman added. “We obviously beg to differ.”
The entire process takes 60 days, which Truman says families do not mind because it allows them to not worry about time while taking care of what is needed when a loved one passes away.