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Natural Organic Reduction, Why Do We Call It Terramation?

Terramation, also known as Natural Organic Reduction or human composting, is starting a wide sweep of legislation throughout the nation. A process that previously existed in a very agricultural, red-state space is now going to teach us how to give organic matter back to the earth.

Natural Organic Reduction, as it is officially known in state law, was ratified and then became legal to offer in May of 2020 in Washington state. The first place in the world to offer this new death care method that we call Terramation legalized the process with very little instruction on how to make it a reality. It was, however, a very large step toward universal access to green funeral and green death care options.

Return Home knew that in order to gain the trust of our communities and, ultimately, the people who wanted to make their last act on earth one that gives back, we had a long road ahead of us.

How do you forge ahead making sure you are creating an environment of love and respect in an uncharted space?

You bring together great minds.


Natural Organic Reduction, Why Do We Call It Terramation?

Terramation at Return Home has been a melding of expertise from the beginning, starting with the creation of the word. While legally it is called Natural Organic Reduction, the process has generally been coined human composting. Much like we don’t call cremation “Human Incineration” we decided we wanted a word that truly spoke of our process. “Terra” means Earth and “mation” means the creation of something. The creation of earth. Exactly what Return Home does with our human composting process.

We put together an expert team of soil scientists, composting experts, aeronautical engineers, funeral directors, HVAC specialists, and construction teams. This was an all-hands-on-deck approach. Processes and procedures needed to be fine-tuned to fit the community we serve.


What’s Next for Terramation aka Natural Organic Reduction?

So now that our human composting or Terramation process has been dialed “science wise” and our funeral home has proven an exceptionally high level of service to the families we serve, what’s next?


SB21-006 signed by Jared Polis on May 10, 2021, made Colorado the second place in the world to make human composting legal. This was another huge step forward in access to green funeral and green deathcare. Return Home has partnered with esteemed funeral home Feldman Mortuary, located in Denver, to serve the Colorado community. Feldman is the oldest family-owned funeral home in the state of Colorado and has a history of offering families every available choice with transparency and love.


Bill 2574 signed by Oregon governor Kate Brown on June 15, 2021, made human composting legal as of July 2022 in Oregon.

As of this article, Massachusetts has put forward bill H.4036 which would legalize human composting.

Illinois has introduced Illinois House Bill 4552 submitted by Rep. Kelly Cassidy would also bring the natural organic reduction to the people of the state of Illinois.

In response to the public at large’s desire for access to green deathcare and green funerals, more states such as New York and California are bringing bills forward which would legalize human composting or Terramation.

Return Home offers our human composting service to all 50 states from our Auburn, Washington facility but hopes to offer services locally as more states legalize the process. Watch this space… green funeral options will be common and widespread before too long!

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