New York has become the sixth US state to allow the manufacture and use of human fertilizer, as announced by the state’s governor, Kathy Hochul, on January 1, 2023.
Since 2019, 5 US states have legalized this measure. Some see the decision as an environmental alternative to cremation or burial, and it allows the bodies of the dead to be recycled and turned into agricultural fertilizers and reduce carbon emissions.
How is the process going?
In order to turn the body of any dead person into human fertilizer, one of the companies specialized in this task in New York must be approached, provided that the body does not contain any electronic materials [batteries or radioactive implants].
The dead body is then placed in a reusable semi-open container that contains sawdust and other materials that allow microbes to compost the body.
The process takes 6 to 8 weeks, according to British and French reports. The British newspaper The Guardian indicates that a cubic meter of compost rich in organic matter can be produced after each such process.
A very sensitive issue
The New York governor found herself in the midst of a sharp wave of criticism before making the decision.
The Catholic Church in New York said last November that “composting is a process that often uses household or agricultural organic waste, and does not pay due respect to bodily remains.”
Washington state was the first state to allow composting in 2019, followed by Colorado and Oregon in 2021, then Vermont and California in 2022.