It’s not a pleasant thought, but we all will inevitably die one day. When your day comes, will you allow your body to be turned into compost? If you live in New York, that is now an option.

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Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation on Saturday, December 31, 2022, which legalizes natural organic reduction, popularly known as human composting. The move makes New York the sixth state in the United States to allow human composting as a form of burial.

The first state to allow human composting was Washington in 2019. Washington was followed by Colorado and Oregon in 2021, Vermont and California in 2022, and now New York.

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The process of human composting begins with the body being placed into a reusable vessel along with plant matter. The organic mix creates the perfect source of microbes to do their job and that job is to quickly and efficiently break down the body. The time it takes for the microbes to turn the body into the soil is about a month.

Once the body has been composted, all that is left is soil that is so nutrient-dense that it is the equivalent of over 35 bags of soil and can be used in place of traditional soil.

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While many find this form of burial and body recycling attractive, the Catholic Church remains firm in its stance that this method is “inappropriate.” However, those in favor of human composting say that it aligns with their belief in living a more environmentally conscious way.

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