Human composting could be on the way

Modern Americans have enough environmental concerns without inventing new ones. Someone may want to suggest that to the folks in Washington state, who are considering what many people might consider a strange new law — at least partly on the grounds of protecting the environment.

Washington legislators have approved a bill, now awaiting action by the governor, to allow composting of human bodies, so they can be used as mulch for plants.

We don’t make these things up.

As The Washington Post points out, funeral customs are changing in our country. Cremation has become the most frequently used method of handling the dear departed. It surpassed traditional burial in 2016.

And the baby boomers are aging, raising the potential for what the Post calls “a death boom” during the next few decades. A company in Seattle, Recompose, sees opportunity in that.

Recompose plans to provide “natural organic reduction” of bodies. Microbes would be used to break them down, in a way similar to how many people make their own garden compost out of organic waste.

“Human composting, its supporters say, is an eco-friendly option,” the Post reports.

Doing that instead of handling the dead in more traditional ways saves money and resources that otherwise would go into expensive caskets and vaults, supporters of human composting note. And all those toxic embalming chemicals are not used, they add.

Then, there’s this, according to the Post: Estimates are that “the average cremated body emits roughly 40 pounds of carbon and requires nearly 30 gallons of fuel to burn.”

Apparently cremation adds to climate change.

Well, fine. If the Washingtonians want to use human compost to grow their vegetables, that’s up to them. But marketing the practice as somehow contributing to the battle against global warming is going too far.