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Human Composting: Is California Ready?

Composting organic waste for soil enrichment

Photo: Getty Images

Is California ready for ‘human composting?’ The alternative burial method to cremation and casket burials has been legalized in several states, but not yet in California.

Funeral with casket carried by coffin bearer

Photo: Getty Images

Assembly Member Cristina Garcia has introduced Assembly Bill 351, a bill that would make California the fifth state to legalize human composting. This is the third time lawmakers in the state have considered legalizing the method. Garcia says it’s not clear why the bill failed in 2020 and 2021, but she says she feels confident it will pass this year.

“Talking about what happens to our bodies when we die makes people feel uncomfortable or icky,” she says.

Human composting is an eco-friendly alternative burial option to casket burial or cremation methods. When composted, a body is placed in a steel vessel and buried in biodegradable materials that allow the body to naturally decompose over a 30-day period.

Once the body decomposes fully into the soil, it is then returned to the family.


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