POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Human composting bill to be considered as burial alternative

Jan 22, 2024, 9:33 AM

Human compost bill...

Composted soil ready for tilling. (Larry Sagers)

(Larry Sagers)

SALT LAKE CITY —  Utah lawmakers are being asked to consider human composting as another way to take care of those who have passed on.

Sen. Jen Plumb, D-Salt Lake City, is sponsoring the bill. She said the process speeds up the breaking down of a body. The result is a soil-like material that can be used similarly to fertilizer. The option allows families to decide how to use the material.

According to Plumb, some constituents brought her the concept last year, but she wasn’t quite ready to run the bill. 

“More and more folks reached out and there was one in particular who talked to me about his mom and how this is what his mom really wanted,” Plumb said.

“They had started looking into the process of this natural organic reduction … It turned out that she passed sooner than they had anticipated and so they didn’t have plans to get her to another state. And he really kind of lamented that that he wasn’t able to give her that,” Plumb added. 

According to the senator, the more she looked into the idea the more deeply it resonated with her.

“I have a beloved cabin that’s been my favorite escape. And the moose and the raccoons that you know, of course, pester me, but I adore, and the natural foliage that’s up there. There’s something to that thought of what if I kind of went back to the earth and was just part of that cycle. There’s something kind of appealing about that when I think about it,” she said. 

As a physician, Plumb said she wanted to make sure the process was done right.

“I wanted to be really thoughtful about the way that bill was drafted. I wanted to keep it in the realm of funeral professionals,” she said. 

Plumb added she wants the process to be safe, smart, and well thought out. 

Why choose human composting?

Although some chemicals are used to speed up the process, human composting uses less energy than cremation. Additionally, the result takes up less space than a traditional burial plot. 

While human composting may not be for everyone, some may see it as an environmentally friendly choice. 

“When we talk about resource utilization, when we talk about emissions and carbon and all of those sort of things — if that’s something that matters to you…how great that that can also be a part of your final footprint,” said Plumb. 

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Human composting bill to be considered as burial alternative