FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail The World’s First Human-Composting Facility Is Set To Open in 2021. Families Could Take Home ‘Human Soil’ For Their Gardens.by Peter Dockrill, Science AlertDecember 11, 201 When a human being’s time is up in Western countries, we generally have two main options for our mortal remains — burial or cremation. Now, a world-first facility has been set up to offer a unique alternative ritual to traditional choices: compost.Recompose, which is scheduled to begin operations in Seattle, Washington, in 2021, bills itself as the world’s first human composting facility, offering to gently convert human remains into the soil in a process it calls “recomposition” or “natural organic reduction.”The company, a public benefit corporation led by founder Katrina Spade, has been in the works for years but became a legally viable service this year when Washington passed a historic bill to become the first US state to allow human composting.The law goes into effect in May 2020, enabling what Spade calls a “death-care revolution,” in which bodies of the deceased will transform into the soil in the company’s reusable, hexagonal “recomposition vessels.”The process draws upon the traditional principles of natural or “green” burials, but takes place inside the reusable vessels, rather than being permanently interred at the same time.“Bodies are covered with wood chips and aerated, providing the perfect environment for naturally occurring microbes and beneficial bacteria,” Recompose’s web site explains. “Over the span of about 30 days, the body is fully transformed, creating soil which can then be used to grow new life.”Once the composting process is complete, family and friends of the departed are encouraged to take some or all of the cubic yard of soil generated per person (amounting to several wheelbarrows of soil) and can use it to grow their own gardens, with remaining soil being used for conservation purposes.Conservation aims are a linchpin of the company’s overall purpose — and the law that will let companies like Recompose operate. The company’s goal is to provide a more environmentally friendly end-of-life ritual than burying embalmed corpses in wooden caskets, or burning remains in cremation, which is energy-intensive due to the high temperatures required, and produces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.Recompose estimates each person who chooses their organic reduction process (at a fee of about $5,500) over cremation or conventional burial will save about one ton of CO2, thanks to the carbon sequestration which occurs at different points throughout the process — not to mention the benefits of producing useful soil, rather than taking up limited land.“I think one of the things for me, in addition to [the] carbon savings, is just having a way to create useable soil,” Spade told Citylab in January. “Something that you can go grows a tree with and have sort of this ritual around that feels meaningful.” MORE FROM SCIENCE ALERT:It Turns Out Curious Head Cones in Ancient Egyptian Art Were Actually Real HatsThousands of Mysterious Holes Have Been Found in The Ocean Floor Off The Californian Coast FOOTNOTES:Earlier this year, Washington passed a bill that makes it the first US state to allow human composting. The law will go into effect in 2020.Seattle-based company Recompose intends to open the world’s first human -composting facility in 2021.The facility will convert human remains into the soil, then allow families to take the soil home and plant it in their gardens.