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Terramation is on it’s way in Arizona!

People are talking! Terramation, also known as natural organic reduction, might be coming to a few new states soon. Arizona, Delaware, and Utah have all brought up legislation to legalize natural organic reduction in their states at nearly the same time. Each has recently passed their bills through the State House of Representatives and kicked things up to the State Senate. To follow their fights closely, please read up about Arizona’s HB 2081, Delaware’s HB 162, and Utah’s SB 102! If things go well, suddenly we could jump from 7 states that have legalized to 10 in total! That’s incredible. But to really understand why this trifecta is so amazing, you need to understand the law and terramation!

What’s Arizona Doing relating to Terramation?

Lauren Hendrix (R) from House District 14 introduced legislation at the beginning of 2024 to amend Arizona’s laws regarding legal forms of disposition. This means, they are attempting to add ways in which the body can be cared for after death. Specifically, HB2081 aims to amend the laws regarding cremation, a reduction of human remains, to allow for natural organic reduction as well. This is great news! But what does it mean to undergo natural organic reduction? Why is this option important for Arizonans?

The “Grandpa in the Garden” Bill would give Arizonans the legal opportunity, once a facility was built in-state, to have their bodies transformed into soil once they die. With that, the garden that grandpa once loved could flourish thanks to the addition of his soil. Terramated soil has a super power: it grows things amazingly well! The soil that grandpa becomes can be used to nurture his garden and ensure that things continue to grow well within it.

The legalization of terramation would also mean that people in Arizona have a greener, friendlier, and caring alternative when it comes to final disposition. They would have more choices about what happens to them when they die. More choices, more information sharing, and more acceptance means that people can make better, sustainable decisions. But what really is terramation and why would Arizonans choose it for themselves?

Let’s Talk About Terramation

Terramation is a form of green death care. It’s also the most eco-friendly form of green death care! Instead of being buried or cremated, terramation allows our bodies to be transformed into nutrient-rich soil. It is a more gentle alternative to traditional funeral services. It also goes a little something like this:

When we die, our bodies are placed in individual vessels along with a mixture of organic alfalfa, sawdust, and straw. These organics help the naturally occurring microbes in our gut kickstart the terramation process. Start to finish, once someone is placed in a vessel their terramation journey will last between 60 and 70 days on average. At Return Home, this time frame is divided into two parts: Phase 1 (the first 20 days) and Phase 2 (the second 30 days).

During Phase 1, or the first 30 days, the body is completely transformed into soil. What remains are the organics, anything inorganic (such as medical implants/metal), and the bones. But what about the bones?! At this point in the process the soil goes through a screening process to take out anything inorganic and to reduce the bones down to more uniform pieces. This reduction allows the microbes to enter the inside of the bones and terramate them too! The bones are reintroduced into the soil and everything is placed into a different vessel.

With this transfer we are on to Phase 2! This phase also takes about 30 days to complete. It allows the soil to breathe, the bones to finish terramating, and for state mandated testing to occur. Everything is checked to make sure the process is going smoothly and that the soil is ready to be introduced not only to loved ones but to the planet as well. At the end of this phase, the soil is ready to return home.

Why Should Arizonans Care About Terramation?

Terramation is a gentle, greener alternative to end-of-life care. Instead of burying metals or concrete, or pushing pollutants into the atmosphere, terramation is creating nutrient-rich soil that enriches the planet. It’s life after life.

Arizona is a state with a beautifully rich landscape and 33 state parks. It stands to reason that a place with a generous appreciation for nature would desire a greener solution to death care. With retired snowbirds, adventure seekers, and nearly 3 million residents over the age of 50, death care is something Arizonans need to talk about! And sustainable death care is something we should all be talking about.

Ecologically speaking, terramation is the best choice. Not only is the output very low, mostly just the energy that is used to keep the lights on, but what the soil gives back to the environment is incredible. Our bodies are full of amazing nutrients that are infused in the finished terramated soil. At the end of it all, grandpa is in the garden and grandma really can grow grass with his wonderful soil.

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