We may never know what happens to our consciousness after death, but a funeral home tells us straight what it will do to our human remains. Recompose, a Seattle-based funeral home, wants to turn human remains into nutrient-rich compost.
Through a process called natural organic reduction (NOR), Recompose breaks down the human body through a five-step process that includes “laying in” the body inside a specially made vessel filled with wood chips, alfalfa and straw that help the natural decomposition process move along.
Prior to the laying in, all inorganic materials in the body (like implants, dental fillings, pacemakers and artificial joints) are removed. The remains are then kept in the specially made vessel for 30 days—teeth and all—to decompose.
The environment and climate change were big motivators for Recompose founder Karina Spade—who spent almost a decade on research, development and fundraising for the concept.
“For every person who chooses Recompose over conventional burial or cremation, one metric ton of carbon dioxide is prevented from entering the atmosphere. In addition, our approach to human composting requires 1/8 the energy of conventional burial or cremation. Recompose allows you to choose an end-of-life option that strengthens the environment rather than depleting it,” Recompose says on its website.
The eligibility criteria for the Recompose service is pretty simple. According to the FAQ, only people who have ebola, prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, tuberculosis and those who have received radiation seed implants within 30 days of death are disqualified from the service.
The full Recompose service costs $5,500—that is if you reside in the Washington State area. Sadly, this service is not yet available in the Philippines, but at least we know that it exists and that, in some way, there really is life after death.