In the News: Alternative Burials

alternative burials

Every day we are faced with stories about over-population, climate change, carbon footprints, pollution and the overall impact humans have on earth. It’s a lot to think about. To respond, there have been some changes made by the funeral and burial industry regarding how human remains are returned to the earth. Alternative burials, if you will. These changes reflect a more natural approach to interment

According to a recent New York Times article, Washington State in the US will soon be considering a method that essentially reduces the remains to compost in order to return the physical body to the earth. While this might sound unpleasant to you – having your loved one thought of as compost – some people want this.

Alternative Burials: Human Compost

If passed, the Bill going through Washington State Legislature to make this legal would make Washington the first state, and possibly the first place in the world, to allow this type of alternative burial.

While funeral directors in Washington have admitted some people cringe at the thought, there is no real opposition to the Bill.

Returning to Nature

While disgust might be a common, and frankly human reaction to hearing about, or thinking about human remains being composted, those in favour of the Bill see it as the most ancient and most natural way to be laid to rest. There is beauty in the idea of being returned to the earth.  It’s a similar result as you would get if you were to be buried in a biodegradable coffin, without embalming.

As of now, Washington residents only have two choices, burial or cremation, so Funeral Directors cannot offer human composting as an alternative burial. This Bill is looking to change that.

People in the pacific northwest have shown a keen interest in preserving the environment. The State already has more “green” cemeteries than any other outside of California and New York. They are also a state that favours choice. That combined with a love for the environment makes this the perfect place to introduce this type of burial.

Funeral Directors are hoping that through the process they can learn more, such as where the composted remains will legally be allowed to be distributed.

If this process were ever to become legal and available in Canada, would you want this? Does the idea of becoming soil frighten or delight you?

That said, since this method is not available now, please feel free to chat with us about other ways you can make your funeral and burial greener!