Turn Your Deceased Loved One Into Soil: First Human Compost Site to Open in 2021

Startup Recompose is providing a greener way to honor the deceased.
Donna Fuscaldo

What better way to honor and remember the dead than to turn them into soil? 

That's what Recompose, the Seattle based so-called deathcare company is banking on. The world's first human composting service is slated to open in 2021, enabling people to turn the deceased into soil.  


The traditional processes are bad for the environment 

The composting process takes about thirty days and is a greener way than cremation. According to Recompose, 2.7 million people die annually in the U.S., with the majority being buried in a cemetery or cremated.

That results in carbon dioxide and particulates being emitted into the atmosphere. Not to mention burials and cremation consumes urban land, pollutes the air and soil and plays a role in climate change. 

But by converting human remains into the soil, the company argues it minimizes waste, avoids polluting groundwater with embalming fluids and prevents CO2 emissions from cremation and the manufacturing of caskets and headstones.

"By allowing organic processes to transform our bodies and those of our loved ones into a useful soil amendment, we help to strengthen our relationship to the natural cycles while enriching the earth," Recompose says on its website. 

Inspired by green burials 

The startup's first cite will reportedly be in Seattle, Washington, holding the remains of 75 people at one time. Recompose's ability to turn human remains into soil was made possible by the passing of a bill in Washington state that allows human bodies to be composted. The law goes into effect in the spring of next year, allowing funeral homes to carry out the composting of human remains into soil. 

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The idea was inspired by green burials in which people's remains are buried in woodlands to decompose but Recompose's service is designed for cities where land is scarce. 

The company explained the process like this: "Organic reduction happens inside of a vessel, which is modular and re-usable. Bodies are covered with wood chips and aerated, providing the perfect environment for naturally occurring microbes and beneficial bacteria. Over the span of about 30 days, the body is fully transformed, creating soil which can then be used to grow new life."

Recompose says the process creates about a cubic yard of soil per individual. Friends and family are welcome to take some or all of the soil home to grow a tree or garden, How's that for the circle of life?