Washington has become the first state to legalize human composting as an alternative to burial or cremation after Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill into law on Tuesday.
The law also legalizes alkaline hydrolysis, "a process that breaks down bodies using lye and heat," HuffPostexplained. Alkaline hydrolysis is legal in some other states, including California, Idaho, and Maine. Both processes will be legal in Washington starting on May 1, 2020.
These alternative methods have been touted by advocates as being more eco-friendly than traditional burial or cremation. As much as "a metric ton of CO2" could be saved by choosing the process of human composting instead of traditional methods, says Seattle company Recompose.
After the human composting process is complete — which would take about a month — the deceased's loved ones can take the remains home "to grow a tree or a garden," Recompose's website states.
It's possible that Recompose will be the first of many Washington companies to offer this service, though it's unclear exactly how many Washingtonians will decide to avail themselves of this new opportunity.