DENVER (KDVR) — With Coloradans gaining a new way of being laid to rest, many area funeral homes are applauding the state’s decision to allow for “human composting,” a process that turns a person’s body into soil after they’ve passed away.
Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill into law this week, giving Coloradans three options for how they’d like to leave this world: by burial, cremation, and now, “natural organic reduction.”
The Feldman Mortuary in Denver is one of many businesses planning to offer this option, saying they’ve received plenty of local interest already.
According to the mortuary, the human composting process starts with a vessel.
“So a vessel is where the composting happens. The body gets placed into a vessel along with alfalfa and wood chips. And it is agitated very slowly to have oxygen move around. And in about 30 to 40 days everything has decomposed to become soil,” said Jamie Sarche, Director of Pre-planning at Feldman Mortuary.
According to Sarche, pretty much everything inside the vessel turns into soil, and quite a bit of soil at that. Apparently, it’s enough to fill up the bed of a truck.
Not everyone approves of this practice, however.
The Colorado Catholic Conference is the main group in Colorado against the idea, saying “human life and the human body are sacred” and shouldn’t undergo this process.
The church goes on to say it’s a moral issue and, “the conversion of human remains to soil does not promote human dignity” and adds, “there’s not enough research on what the practices will do for health and safety.”
Sarche disagrees, saying the process is a more gentle way to care for the body compared to fire cremation.
“I know this process has been used in agriculture for years and years and years. So we do know a lot more about it. And I would say, honestly, I do think it’s a lot more dignified than fire cremation. When you put a body in an oven, most of us are afraid of fire. And what we think of ash is mostly just pulverized bone,” Sarche said.
“For the longest time fire cremation was not considered a Catholic way of doing things, but plenty of Catholics were doing it and the church eventually decided to follow its membership,” Sarche said.
Sarche believes the same thing will happen with human composting.