Proposal from Capitol Hill state senator would make Washington first to legalize composting the dead

Concept for a “recomposition” facility (Image: Recompose)

State Sen. Jamie Pedersen is ready to breathe some life into changing Washington’s laws about what happens after we are dead.

Capitol Hill resident Pedersen says he will introduce a bill when the 2019 legislative session starts in Olympia that could make the state the first to legalize composting of human remains.


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“People from all over the state who wrote to me are very excited about the prospect of becoming a tree or having a different alternative for themselves,” the 43rd District rep told NBC about the proposal.

In addition to decomposition, the legislation would also legalize alkaline hydrolysis, or biocremation, “a process for the disposal of human remains using lye and heat.”

The Seattle Times reported this fall on research into body composting.

Proponents point to waste and environmental issues related to typical practices like cremation and burial — and some describe hopes of new cultural practices that would move death far beyond cemeteries with a collective compost facility at the middle of every city.

Recompose, a company founded to provide “recomposition” services when legal, was founded by Capitol Hill resident Katrina Spade.

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