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Estate Planning Legal Update: WA State Legislature Passes Bill Allowing Human Composting As Alternative to Traditional Burial

Posted Thursday, April 25, 2019 by Pivotal Law Group

Washington State’s legislature recently passed a bill (Senate Bill 5001) that would allow human composting as an alternative to burial or cremation.

The bill legalizes disposal of human remains via “natural organic reduction,” which is the accelerated decomposition of human remains into soil. The process transforms human remains into soil over only a few weeks. The bill also legalizes a similar process, “alkaline hydrolysis,” the reduction of human remains using heat, pressure, water, and base chemical agents. The bill allows persons to establish their desire to have their remains composted through a valid written document signed in the presence of witnesses. The new law also establishes regulation of human composting providers.

The new bill emphasizes: “A person has the right to control the disposition of his or her own remains without the pre-death or post-death consent of another person.”

The bill is expected to be signed by the Governor, and will take effect May 1, 2010.