SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A bill before the Oregon Legislature would make it the second state to allow human composting as an alternative to traditional burial or cremation.
House bill 2574, sponsored by Reps. Pam Marsh and Brian L. Clem, would allow bodies to be disposed of by alternative processes, including natural organic reduction — an accelerated decomposition process that turns bodies into soil within weeks, KOIN reported.
It also clarifies rules surrounding alkaline hydrolysis, known as aqua cremation, and extends other funeral industry privileges and responsibilities to include natural organic reduction.
A public hearing for the bill was set for Monday afternoon in the House Committee on Business and Labor.
Almost 100 people had submitted written testimony as of Monday morning, overwhelmingly in support of the bill. Most cited environmental reasons for their desire to be composted. Cremation uses more energy than composting and traditional burial involves harsh chemicals and takes up land.
“Knowing that my remains could benefit the environment that has given me so much joy over the years gives me peace,” wrote Milwaukie resident Darin MacRae.
If passed, the bill would take effect July 1, 2022.
Washington became the first state to allow natural organic reduction in 2020. In late December, two facilities began performing the service.