Composting human bodies is something that has drawn a lot of debate. But April 2019 saw Wahington becoming the first state in the United States to legalize this process. This legislation has now led to the very first human body composting site to be opened in Seattle in 2021.
Recompose is the name of the company and they plan to locate themselves in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle. This composting facility was designed by Olson Kundig Architects with the help of Katrina Spade, CEO and founder of Recompose. This ultra-modern space is far-removed from traditional funeral homes in concept and design.
The Seattle facility is based in an 18,500 sq ft open area. There is an abundance of natural light and greenery. There are 75 hexagonal vessels in the facility to store human bodies for decomposition. The vessels are stacked in such a way that they give the impression of being a beehive together. There is a central space for ceremonies and the vessels are stacked around it.
One of the major reasons why human body composting is being looked forward to is the environmental factor. Burial and cremation both have a negative impact on the environment but composting bodies is far more environment-friendly.
Recompose is still waiting for approval on their unique method. The method requires human bodies to be put inside one of the vessels. The vessels are temperature and moisture controlled and are filled with straw, alfalfa, and wood chips. Microbial activities will be able to break down the body and make it one with the soil within 30 days. One of the most significant advantages of human body composting is that it Recompose’s method consumes barely 1/8th of the energy usually required for creating.
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The process of decomposition of one human body will generate nearly a cubic yard of soil. The family members of the deceased person can take back this soil. Otherwise, Recompose plans on using it to reforest areas in southern Washington.
Images: Olson Kundig