Washington’s become the first US state to legalise human composting.
Eco-friendly Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill that will allow human bodies to be turned into soil, rather than being buried or cremated.
The new law, which will come into effect in May 2020, aims to cut carbon emissions from burials and cremations.
Recompose, a Seattle-based company, is set to be the first to offer the service.
On its website it says: “Our service – recomposition – gently converts human remains into soil, so that we can nourish new life after we die.
“Our modular system uses nature’s principles to return our bodies to the earth, sequestering carbon and improving soil health. In fact, we’ve calculated carbon savings over a metric tonne per person.”
The process involves placing a dead person in an hexagonal steel container filled with wood chips, alfalfa and straw.
The container is then shut and the body is decomposed by microbes within 30 days. The end product is a dry, fluffy nutrient-rich soil.
When the process has finished, families will be able to take home some of the soil created.
The process used by Recompose is the same as that used for decades with farm animals.
The company plans to charge $5,500 for its services.
However, the Catholic Church has denounced recomposition as “undignified”.