Human composting grows in popularity as eco-friendly farewell option

Originally published at: Human composting grows in popularity as eco-friendly farewell option | Boing Boing


Inching slowly towards Judge Dredd universe’s Resyk.
Nothing goes to waste in Mega-City One, not even the dead. Due to the massive population of the city, and incredibly close confines, burying the dead is a privilege reserved for the super-rich. Most corpses are sent to the nearest Resyk centre, where the body is broken down into its component parts, and rendered into other materials. Funeral services are frequently held at Resyk so the bereaved can say goodbye to their loved ones, and purchase reasonably priced souvenirs at the gift shop

I for one, approve.


I’m curious what the New York State Catholic Conference hopes to gain from running what’s basically a rehash of the fretting about cremation that was formally abandoned 60 years ago.


Cemeteries are a big business for some dioceses. Disposition of remains other than burial complicates or cuts into the racket.


I agree with the woman in the video whose brother was composted. Embalming people after they die and burying them in a lead lined box is a deeply weird practice. I’ve always said I would rather have someone just drag my body out to the woods and leave it for nature to do its thing when I die, but I realize that isn’t legal. I like the composting idea. I’m not a big fan of the price tag. $7,000? Ugh.


There’s a Maryland site that’s advertising for not exactly this, but advocating green burial, which functionally turns the remains into compost, though the remains stay in the cemetery. Eventually, everyone becomes compost, the embalming and liners and coffins just delay the process.


I’m weird and want to leave remains and artifacts that will be found 1000 years from now.


I’m all in favor of letting people do whatever they want with their remains (as long as it’s safe) but apparently there are legal hurdles to having mummification done.

Maybe you can get on the waitlist to have your body donated to one of those “Body Worlds” exhibits?


I was wondering what kind of natural process can decompose a body in a month that would make it safe to give back to someone. It looks like it takes about 3 months, but still. They say natural but how can a natural process decompose a body that quickly? I know, science.

This is all pretty interesting.

Bones and teeth do not fully break down in the human composting process due to their mineral composition. Similar to other forms of death care, equipment is needed to reduce the bones.

Human composting eliminates disease pathogens and parasites. The human composting process creates heat over 131 degrees Fahrenheit that is maintained for extended lengths of time. This heat ensures the soil created is safe and free of harmful pathogens. Similarly, that sustained heat inactivates pharmaceuticals and other toxins that might be in the tissues of the body.

There are three rare diseases that disqualify a body from undergoing human composting: Ebola, prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, and active tuberculosis. Monitoring for these diseases is the responsibility of hospitals and medical examiners. For patients who have received radiation seed implants, the radiation seeds must be removed and 30 days pass before the body is eligible for human composting.

I’m not sure what kind of return I can get on my investment but they are looking for investors.

I witnessed a cremation once, but not at a facility meant to have loved ones present, it was the actual place in an industrial mall place. It was just a small garage type space in between other shops like auto repair and small manufacturers. It was the most surreal thing me and the wife ever witnessed.

I want to be buried so when the time comes to walk the earth with the undead I can participate. And I want my daughter to throw the first shovel of dirt at the grave side and then toss in a single rose. You know, a happy event.


Well I am ok with bones… I am thinking about actual artifacts I can include. Stone. Metal tablets. Things that could weather being in the ground that long.

I don’t live in the proper environment where mummification is viable - to wet and humid.

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I could be wrong, but I have a feeling the 7K is less than the more “traditional” route - casket, funeral, etc…
Is there a Ralph’s around here?


Same. Or, weighted and thrown overboard, preferably post-mortem.


From what I have read, human compost is no more special or nutritious to the soil than any other type of compost. However, I love the idea!


You can always donate your body to a body farm.

There’s water cremation that takes about a day.


It feels like all these methods are needlessly overcomplicated. I still don’t understand what’s wrong with just skipping the embalming and casket part and tossing the body directly into a hole in the ground. Of if you want the body to break down faster just get one of those big wood chippers.


Largely, it’s people’s perceptions (at least in the US) that a dead body is somehow tainted, dirty, and the living need to be protected from it…

We don’t really do that, because honoring those who died is one of the most common shared human traits. It helps us to come to terms with the death, and to move on eventually.


Sky burial FTW! (That does require a little bit of prep work with a cleaver)


Yes, but my point is that it still involves ceremony, which helps the bereaved.

Also, it’s illegal in the US, so…


There are many kinds of ceremony. Although, interestingly, the Wikipedia entry on Sky Burial includes the following paragraph:

I guess that’s where the above-mentioned Body Farm loophole comes in to play. Provided that you can get your body donated to a farm in a region with large raptors.

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There’s no inherent reason you couldn’t make a process that mechanically reduces the body into small pieces just as respectful or ceremonial as a process that burns the body into ash. (My “wood chipper” comment was a little flippant but in principle you could have a purpose-built device along the same lines as a crematorium).

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