The bill will now head to the desk of the state’s governor, Jay Inslee. If he signs it, the legislation will go into effect in 2020, making Washington residents the first in the nation to have this economical, environmentally-friendly option for disposing of their bodies after death.
The process outlined in the legislation is called “recomposition,” which involves placing a body in a chamber that accelerates decomposition. After about a month, the body is transformed into a nutrient-packed soil that is returned to the deceased’s family or loved ones, who can then use the soil to plant a tree, nourish a garden, or really, whatever they feel like.
“Recompose gets as close to the natural process of decomposition [as] you’d assume a body would undergo before we had an industrialized society,” environmental sustainability analyst Troy Hottle told The Seattle Times. “In an urban environment, which is where the global population is growing and land use is at a premium, it’s the most efficient and environmentally sound method of burial.”
READ MORE: Washington may become first state to legalize human composting [The Seattle Times]
More on human remains: Washington May Become the First State to Legalize Human Composting