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Thread: Composting people

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Composting people

    Apparently California recently put a law in place allowing people to be composted upon death starting in 2027. The process only takes a month and people are kept separate. The process doesnít cause greenhouse gas emissions as cremation does so it would be the final environmentally friendly choice a person can make. Literally.

    As an athiest I donít have a problem with this. It seems incredibly practical. And I can even see a family taking the result and using it to plant a tree by which they could remember their loved one. But Iím curious what others thoughts are.

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    It seems as sensible as cremation.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Hmm... Seems VT is looking towards that as well. Not sure where this bill stands. This article is from last January.

    https://vtdigger.org/2022/01/31/bill...human-remains/

    I have looked into "natural burial" up here, and there is a cemetery near my house that is one of the few in the State that allows it.

    https://naturalburialassociation.ca/...atural-burial/
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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    How do they do this and not produce "greenhouse gas"?

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    How do they do this and not produce "greenhouse gas"?
    I am curious too. I wouldn’t think that meat flesh disintegrates within one month regardless of how much brown stuff and green stuff you pile over it.

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    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    I am curious too. I wouldn’t think that meat flesh disintegrates within one month regardless of how much brown stuff and green stuff you pile over it.
    I read about this a year or so ago, as I recall the body is placed in a metal cylinder along with wood chips and straw and the cylinder is then sealed. As all the organic material begins to decompose the inside reaches high temperatures and the cylinder is rotated on some set schedule to ensure even decomposition, and oxygen is added periodically. This process apparently will also decompose teeth and bones within a short period of time and you end up with about a cubic yard of rich, brown soil. I think there's a drying process which takes another couple of weeks.
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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    How do they do this and not produce "greenhouse gas"?
    All the articles I've found are vague on how much greenhouse gases are released through composting a human body but they all state that it's significantly less than the amount from cremation since fossil fuels are not burned in the process. I assume that the greenhouse gases from the body itself are roughly the same with either process?

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    As much as I like the idea of this in principle, I'm not sure. "Taking the result and planting a tree"--I simply can't visualize my kids taking a pitchfork to my "compost" I'm a little out there on this stuff, but not THAT out there. I think that's what appeals to me about natural burial. It's a more natural HUMAN option. I can see being wrapped in a shroud and then being put in the earth and the kids can then put a planting on the site. But USING my actual composted remains to fertilize a tree...IDK about that. Although knowing my kids, they would get plenty of good jokes out the experience.

    ETA: Another "natural" option. Throw me in the woods and let the animals have at me. JK.
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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    For sure every family would have their own opinion about using grandma to plant a tree. I imagine lots of families would prefer that the compost to go to a farm (here that mostly means vineyards). Perhaps people would be more comfortable serving a bottle of wine at thanksgiving while saying Ďitís so nice that we can drink this wine made from grandma. Itís like communion but a little bit different!í

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    I have never been drawn to the idea of cremation nor traditional casket burial. There is a funeral home near our house and seeing thick black smoke on occasion coming from their stacks is creepy. A shroud and burial is fine with me as all that matter will eventually disintegrate. Pretty sure that composting bodies is already being practiced in Colorado.

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