Since human composting is a new process, people have a lot of questions about it. One of the most common ones is “how long does human composting take?” We will answer this along with a few other questions that often come up when this process is discussed.
How Long Does Human Composting Take?
Like any kind of composting, there are a few key factors that go into determining the expected timeframe. Which materials are added to the composter and how the unit is ventilated are two of the biggest ones. Surprisingly, human composting service providers don’t typically mention the size of the body as a factor, perhaps because they can adjust other parameters to compensate for it.
Most who provide this service have processes that they have standardized well enough to give a firm timeframe. For example, if you choose Return Home, how long does human composting take? About 60-90 days. They note that it takes just 30-60 days for a body to be turned into soil, but that another 30 days are used to “rest” the new compost before it is handed over to the family.
What Is Added to the Human Composting Vessel?
This also depends on the company. Return Home uses a mixture of alfalfa, straw, and sawdust to get the activity started quickly and facilitate the composting of the body. The composting unit is also oxygenated in order to keep the process going and prevent odors.
What Happens to the Soil After Composting?
Typically, it is given to the family to keep or use as they wish. However, some states have restrictions regarding its final use. One common rule is that it cannot be used to grow crops for sale. Return Home gives the option of either taking the soil home or having it spread out at their green belt property, known as The Woodland.
How Long Does Human Composting Take to Choose?
Like many new methods for body disposition, human composting – also known as natural organic reduction – has a novelty factor that is part of the attraction. However, most people don’t have this as their main reason for choosing it. Instead, they are looking for a body disposition method that is more natural and easier on the environment than traditional techniques.
The two main traditional methods for dealing with a body are burial and cremation. Burial might not seem hard on the environment at first glance, but due to the way it is typically done, it is actually quite toxic and resource-intensive.
Why Burial Is Not Sustainable
Burial is normally done after an open-casket funeral. In preparation for the funeral, the body is embalmed. This is where the toxicity comes from. Embalming involves filling the body’s vessels with toxic fluids to help keep the body from breaking down. The production and use of these fluids is hazardous, and if the body ends up exposed to the environment, the toxins can leach into the nearby soil and water.
The burial itself is resource-intensive. The coffin is placed inside an outer container, which is meant to keep water from infiltrating the grave. This makes it so that the wood or metal of the coffin never has a chance to break down, and neither does the body within.
The Environmental Cost of Cremation
Cremation is the other common method of body disposition. While it doesn’t permanently use land like burial, it has its own environmental cost. The bulk of this cost comes from the process of burning the body. A large amount of fuel is needed, and the fire emits a high quantity of CO2.
How Long Does Human Composting Take to Avoid These Problems?
Since there is no need for embalming, a coffin, or even a fire, human composting is very easy on the environment. A bit of energy is used to keep the composting unit ventilated, but the rest takes place via microbial action.
How long does human composting take and how does this influence your choice? This process allows the body to fully return to the Earth rather than merely laying within a box underground. Nature lovers are especially attracted to this aspect, and may set up a composting arrangement with a provider prior to their own deaths to ensure that this is how their body is put to rest. Families that emphasize the connection between humans and the rest of nature also go for human composting.
Where Can I Have Human Composting Done?
Currently, this process has been legalized in six states: Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, California, and most recently New York. (California’s legalization passed, but it is slated to go into effect later, so the state is currently in a legal waiting period.) More have legislation in the works. The legal landscape is changing quickly at this time, so more states will almost surely legalize human composting in the near future.
How Long Does Human Composting Take to Set Up?
One way to set up human composting for yourself or a loved one is to contact Return Home. The company offers services for both immediate need scenarios and pre-arranged contracts, so it’s easy to match their offerings to your needs. Just fill out the form on their site or give them a call to get started.