LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Human composting, an alternative to burial or cremation, is now legal in Nevada.
A new law took full effect on January 1 allowing your body to be turned into soil when you die. Nevada is the seventh state to legalize human composting. Washington was the first back in 2019.
FOX5 spoke to the CEO of a company based there to learn how it works, as well as the sponsor of the bill that now makes it legal in the Silver State.
“I’d lost my wife seven years ago and through being very open and talking about this, the whole political community, lobbyists, and everyone else got to hear an earful,” said Max Carter II, Assemblyman for District 12 in East Las Vegas. “You want to talk to me, we are going to talk about grief and grieving.”
When Carter lost his wife suddenly in a horseback riding accident, it turned his world upside down. Exactly six years after her death, as a freshman member of the Nevada Assembly, Carter spearheaded the Human Composting Bill, AB 289, now law in Nevada.
“The thought that somebody taken could be given back to the Earth in this way just resonated and I thought it was something we needed to do,” Carter contended. He said if given an opportunity to let his wife’s body become part of nature, the land she loved, it would have eased his suffering.
“If this can help somebody feel a little bit better about the passing of a loved one it is all worth it,” Carter stated. “Instead of being turned into ash via fire, you are getting gently transformed into soil using microbes,” explained Tom Harries, CEO and co-founder of Earth Funeral Group. Harries worked with Carter to get the practice legalized in Nevada.
“Places like Nevada have extremely high cremation rates, and cremation is just not appealing to people. It is hard to be excited by the process of cremation,” Harries argued. Harries stated human composting is an environmentally friendly alternative to cremation, net carbon neutral. The natural process takes about 45 days.
“At the end of the process, there’s two to three pounds of soil that families can do whatever they wish with. You might want to plant some of it. You might want to scatter some of it. You are doing something that is very meaningful to you and your family and then any remaining soil is being used for land restoration projects,” Harries revealed.
In the two years Earth Funeral has offered their service to families in the Pacific Northwest, about 1,000 people have signed up.
Right now, if a Nevada resident wanted to take part in human composting after death, the body would have to be transported to Washington. Earth Funeral says they do plan on adding a facility in Nevada.
Just like a burial plot, you can pre-pay for human composting before death so loved ones will know your wishes. The price is comparable to cremation at about $5,000.
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