California Legalizes Using Dead Bodies For Compost

Brittany M. Hughes | September 23, 2022
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Hey, the lights might be flickering, your battery-powered car might be dead, and your street might be piled high with bums and human poop, but at least California lawmakers are hard at work for their residents making sure you can use grandma to power your organic tomato garden.

In what sounds like a macabre joke but isn't, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, sitting fresh as a daisy in his air-conditioned office while LA residents roast in their own juices, just signed a bill making it legal to use dead bodies for compost.

The bill, now a law, directs state agencies to come up with policies and regulations for "human composting" by 2027, which will then let people use the remains of their deceased loved ones to make fertilizer. 

"The process works by placing the deceased in a special vessel and covering them with a mix of wood chips, alfalfa and straw allowing for a mix of microbes to break down the body," The Hill explains, adding that "Recompose, a Seattle funeral home that specializes in natural organic reduction, charges $7,000 to compost human remains and states on its website that it can turn a body into soil in as little as 30 days."

Those remains can then be used to plant trees and shrubs, or in gardens.


Related: Massive Fetid Algae Bloom Takes Over San Fran Bay - and Experts Blame Human Waste

Lest you make the assumption that it's all about the Benjamins, composting a body isn't even the most economical choice. While turning Gramps into MiracleGro might save you a little money over a burial, which runs between $7,000-$12,000, it's still not as cheap as simple cremation, which costs about $4,000 or less.

And call me crazy, but something about the idea of chunking MeMaw into the squash bed just doesn't sit right with me. 

A few states have already OK'd the practice, including your typical hippie utopias like Washington State, Oregon, and Colorado. Vermont recently green-lit the idea, while New York passed a similar bill that has yet to be signed into law.

But hey, maybe not all is lost. Since California's already legalizing the composting of dead bodies, maybe they should look at doing the same with all the piles of crap stinking up the streets of San Francisco and gunking up the bay. At least that would be a step toward solving an actual problem.