Well, it’s official. Washington’s governor has signed that freaky human composting funeral legislation that allows residents to recycle loved ones like Seattle requires food waste be composted.
This makes that zany, wet state the very first and quite possibly the very last to allow composting of human bodies instead of standard burial or cremation.
Our colleague Jazz Shaw wrote quite thoughtfully about this pioneering measure last month when it was just legislation. So, I don’t have to.
On Tuesday, Jay Inslee, one of the sizable posse of living Democrats who wants to recycle their political career into the presidency, actually signed the bill into law in the presence of numerous compost supporters, also still breathing.
“It gives meaning and use to what happens to our bodies after death,” asserted Nora Menkin, a supporter and funeral advocate.
According to the provisions, licensed facilities are now authorized to accept your loved one’s bodily remains for “natural organic reduction.”
After several weeks, two wheelbarrow loads of organic mulch are returned to the family. “Where do you want me to dump him, ma’am?” It’s allegedly a mixture of straw, wood chips and guess-who. The photo above shows what a handful of composted cow remains looks like.
A family can spread the beloved compost on the garden and allow them to nurture new life. A nice Buddhist-type thought. Just maybe don’t mention the human compost part when selling your house. Or they can put you in some urns on a very large mantle.
Compost supporters say it’s a much more environmentally friendly way of disposing of used human flesh than draining the blood, flushing in a chemical cocktail of preservatives that might eventually leak into ground water and sealing it all inside a metal container that takes up a cemetery plot forever. Or until the new highway comes through.
Cremation, they feel, is also terrible for the environment because it releases into the air particulates and carbon dioxide, which trees need. But that’s not the issue here.
Speaking on behalf of someone intimately familiar with my thinking, I will say that there are several things I won’t be caring much about once dead — the subject of Obama’s next book (Obama), the subject of Michelle’s next book (Michelle) and the Starbuck’s app.
But right up there of no personal concern whatsoever is the environmental impact of my leftovers. In about five billion years when the Sun finishes the last half of its hydrogen fuel, it’s going to suddenly turn into a red giant anyway that expands to engulf Mercury, Venus, Earth, and all the way out to consume Mars.
Now, that’s recycling.