Environment, climate change, global warming, Trump…our collective imagination is filled with ideas that threaten us with a possible gloomy future. Recompose is a US based firm, that seems to propose a possible policy for one field of this multi-layered problem called Global Warming. In fact, they say that we could opt for an alternative choice – recomposition – to cremation and conventional burial methods. Recomposition gently converts human remains into soil and nourishes new life after we die.

Katrina Spade Founder + CEO

Katrina has been an entrepreneur and designer since 2002. She has over 15 years of experience in project management, finance, and architecture, with a focus on human-centered, ecological solutions. While earning her Masters of Architecture, Katrina invented a system to transform the dead into soil, which is now patent-pending. In 2014, she founded the 501c3 Urban Death Project to bring attention to the problem of a toxic, dis-empowering funeral industry. In 2017, she founded Recompose, a Public Benefit Corporation.

According to their website:

  1. “Our modular system uses nature’s principles to return our bodies to the earth, sequestering carbon and improving soil health. In fact, we’ve calculated carbon savings over a metric ton per person”.
  2. “Current funerary practices are environmentally harmful and, for some, psychologically unsatisfying. The current practices are part historical convention and part funeral industry mandate. Each year, 2.7 million people die in the U.S., and most are buried in a conventional cemetery or cremated, emitting carbon dioxide and particulates into the atmosphere. These practices consume valuable urban land, pollute the air and soil, and contribute to climate change”.
  3. “By converting human remains into soil, we minimize waste, avoid polluting groundwater with embalming fluid, and prevent the emissions of CO2 from cremation and from the manufacturing of caskets, headstones, and grave liners. By allowing organic processes to transform our bodies and those of our loved ones into a useful soil amendment, we help to strengthen our relationship to the natural cycles while enriching the earth”.
  4. “Our patent-pending process is modeled on green burial, but designed for our cities where land is scarce. Organic reduction happens inside of a vessel, which is modular and re-usable. Bodies are covered with wood chips and aerated, providing the perfect environment for naturally occurring microbes and beneficial bacteria. Over the span of about 30 days, the body is fully transformed, creating soil which can then be used to grow new life”.

This firm cares about death care and tries to create a new burial model that will gently return us back to the earth. Their inspiration comes from the nature and takes our bodies back to the nature once we are dead. Natural organic reduction is a process which gently converts human remains into soil. The process is getting legal with Washington State’s Governor Jay Inslee signing SB 5001 which legalizes natural organic reduction. The law will go into effect on May 1, 2020.

Here are some photos showing how the process will function:


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