In spring 2019, Washington became the first US state to legalize the composting of human bodies. As a result of this new legislation, the world’s first-ever composting site, Recompose, will open its doors in spring 2021 in Seattle. The revolutionary system converts human remains into soil as an alternative to cremation or burial.
The Recompose Seattle project follows Washington becoming the first US state to legalise human composting in 2018.
Slated for completion in 2021, the facility is expected to be the first of its kind to offer human composting on a large scale.
According to Recompose, it will also be “the first facility in the world to provide a sustainable option for after-death care”. The company highlights a number of ways that human composting is more sustainable and environmentally friendly in comparison to other options.
It says the process generates around a cubic yard of nutrient-rich soil from the human body, which can then be used for growing plants.
It also requires an eighth of the energy needed for cremation, and saves one metric ton of carbon dioxide per person in comparison. The process uses less space in comparison to burying bodies as well.
Led by Olson Kundig principal Alan Maskin, who also forms part of Recompose’s team, the Seattle building design will accommodate Recompose’s “patent-pending” process that involves placing bodies in a controlled, modular and reusable vessel, where they are covered in wood chips and aerated to promote break down.