Home » Hochul legalizes ‘human composting’ for eco-friendly burials in New York

Hochul legalizes ‘human composting’ for eco-friendly burials in New York

by Marwan Shar

New Yorkers can now be king of the hill, top of the heap.

(MAINNEWS) – Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation on Saturday to legalize natural organic reduction, better known as “human composting.”

The move makes New York the sixth state in the country to greenlight the eco-friendly burial.

New York state Assembly Member Amy Paulin (D-Westchester) and state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Queens), co-sponsored the bill to legalize human composting as part of measures the state is putting in place to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050.

Washington became the first state to legalize human composting in 2019. Colorado and Oregon followed suit in 2021 and Vermont and California in 2022.

The 60-day, chemical-free compost-mortem process involves putting a person’s remains in a “vessel” with organic material such as straw, alfalfa or sawdust. The box is sealed and attached to an HVAC system, and the remains are allowed to decompose. At the 30-day mark, the contents are screened for inorganic material and remaining bone is broken up and put back in. After another 30 days, the contents are returned to the family.

The end result is a heaping cubic yard of nutrient-dense soil amendment, the equivalent of about 36 bags of soil, that can be used to plant trees or enrich conservation land, forests, or gardens.

Washington state eco-friendly funeral service Return Home, which offers “human composting as a death care option,” says it’s gotten “tons of inquiries” from New Yorkers,

“Return Home is incredibly excited about New York’s recent human composting legalization. This is a huge step for accessible green death care nationwide,” Return Home CEO Micah Truman told The Post on Saturday afternoon.

Human compositing invovles burying a person’s body in a “vessel” with organic material so it can decompose.

Not everyone is a fan.

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The New York State Catholic Conference was not dying for the bill to pass when The Post inquired in the spring.

“Composting and fertilizing may be appropriate for vegetable clippings or eggshells, but not for our mortal remains,” said Dennis Poust, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, which represents Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the state’s Catholic bishops in Albany.

By Dean Balsamini

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