Oregon is now the third state in the US to allow a deathcare option that’s gaining popularity for its environmental benefits: human composting. From a report: Gov. Katie Brown signed House Bill 2574 into law on Tuesday, adding natural organic reduction to the range of approved after-life options in the west coast state. Sponsored and developed by Rep. Pam Marsh (D – Southern Jackson County), the bill met Oregonians’ growing interest in sustainable alternatives to traditional deathcare. “This is a hard issue for people to think about; it’s not a decision that any of us get to avoid,” Marsh told Motherboard over the phone. “It has an appeal, certainly not to all consumers, but to many of us who are really looking for ways to think about how our footprint on the earth continues after life is gone.”
The move heeds a growing call from environmentalists across the country to clean up the end-of-life industry. The most common methods of body disposal come with hefty environmental impacts: traditional burials, in which a corpse is embalmed with formaldehyde and placed in a casket underground, permanently occupy large swaths of land and have been found to leach toxins into nearby soil and waterways. Cremation — in which a body is burned into ash — is an energy suck and emits damaging pollutants and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. The move follows Washington passing a similar law in 2019 and Colorado last month.