NY may soon have a new way to bury the dead - turning bodies into compost

Some eco-conscious New Yorkers could soon have a greener end-of-life option.

News 12 Staff

Jun 2, 2021, 2:15 AM

Updated 1,141 days ago

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New Yorkers may soon have a new way to bury the dead - turning bodies into compost.
There's a lot on people's minds when a loved one passes away, but the environmental impact of a funeral isn't one of them. Some eco-conscious New Yorkers could soon have a greener end-of-life option.
Natural Organic Reduction or 'human composting' is the process of putting a body in an above-ground container with materials like alfalfa leaves and wood chips.
About 30 days later, the body turns to soil.
"This is a way for them to participate in an environmentally sustainable funerary option," says Jack Kuhr, executive director of CityGrove, a pro-human composting group.
Burials and cremations greatly impact our environment. More than 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid leak into the ground every year nationwide, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.
Each cremation uses nearly 30 gallons of fuel and releases more than 500 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air, according to the Funeral Consumers Alliance - not to mention the land set aside for cemeteries and raw materials to build caskets.
State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, from Scarsdale, has a bill in Albany legalizing human composting.
"If we want to preserve our land, we should be giving people this option," says Paulin.
Washington and Colorado are the only two states to allow composting human bodies. If it passes in the next two weeks in New York, the law would go into effect by September. 
The New York state Catholic Conference strongly opposes it, calling the process disrespectful. But if the bill becomes law, it will only be an option. Those who want something more traditional can still opt for that.


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