Arizona Passes ‘Composting Grandpa’ Bill

Gardener with a handful of soil | Image by Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Arizona has adopted a new law that allows citizens a new way to lay the remains of their loved ones to rest.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs recently signed HB 2081 and SB1042, also known as the “Composting Grandpa” bill, into law. These laws effectively allow citizens to dispose of human bodies utilizing terramation.

Terramation, also recognized as human composting or “natural organic reduction,” is the process by which human remains are transformed into soil. It involves laying a body into an aerobic vessel between two layers of organic materials that are then placed in a racking system that naturally breaks down the body, according to Return Home, an entity that provides this service.

This process yields between 1 and 1.5 cubic yards of “nutrient-rich and fertile” soil per human body and is completed within 60 days. If they wish, families may pick up the soil to spread in their yards or gardens.

Arizona’s newly signed laws allow citizens to receive these services through an accredited funeral service provider. 

The cost of terramation can range between $5,000 to upwards of $7,000, depending on the provider and the location.

“There is something in us that wants to return to the Earth,” said Micah Truman, CEO of Return Home, according to The Post Millenial. “When we’re done, we have a material that can then be used to restart the cycle of life.”

Other proponents of the process, such as Earth Funeral, advocate that it is environmentally friendly and “carbon neutral” compared to other methods of body disposal like cremation.

“This is all about choice,” said Jake Hinman, a lobbyist with the Natural Organic Reduction of Arizona, according to The Post Millenial. “If this process doesn’t make sense to you, there are many other options out there for your loved ones, but for those that this does make a lot of sense to, we just want to have this option for Arizonans, and it’s really as simple as that.”

Seven other states — California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Vermont, Nevada, and New York — have already signed legislation allowing for this service.

Still, some groups have expressed opposition to the concept. The New York State Catholic Conference contended in 2022 that such a process does not fully respect the dignity of the deceased.

“While not everyone shares the same beliefs with regard to the reverent and respectful treatment of human remains, we believe there are a great many New Yorkers who would be uncomfortable at best with this proposed composting/fertilizing method, which is more appropriate for vegetable trimmings and eggshells than for human bodies,” said the conference in a statement in June 2022, according to the Catholic Courier.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article