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New bill would let people in Colorado turn their bodies into soil

turn bodies into soil
Representative Brianna Titone

DENVER, Colo. -- Where there used to be two main choices after death -- cremation or burial -- Colorado legislators are poised to introduce a bill that would provide a third legal option.

Rep. Brianna Titone and Sen. Robert Rodriguez plan to bring a bill to Colorado's General Assembly that would let Coloradans choose to turn their bodies into soil, according to a statement from Titone.

Colorado would become only the second state to allow the process, known as "Natural Organic Reduction," according to the release.

The process "involves placing bodies in individual vessels and hastening gentle decomposition into a nutrient-dense soil that can then be returned to families," the release says. It's being branded as a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly alternative.

According to the statement, Natural Organic Reduction is more environmentally sound than burial, which can leach chemicals into the ground, or cremation, which uses fossil fuels and releases carbon dioxide.

“This service embodies the spirit of Colorado’s way of life," said Titone in the statement. "In addition to freedom of choice for consumers and a positive environmental impact, Natural Organic Reduction will also benefit Colorado by bringing in a new, unique business opportunity that complements the state’s entrepreneurial nature."

Colorado's rapid population growth was cited as a reason for seeking sustainable and environmentally-friendly options.

According to a study by Washington State University, NOR "exceeds public health and EPA requirements by maintaining a temperature that kills viruses, bacteria, and pathogens as well as stabilizing heavy metals in the soil," the release says.

“It’s not easy to think about after-death choices. Natural Organic Reduction offers an alternative to embalming and burial or cremation that is natural, safe, sustainable, and will result in significant savings in carbon emissions and land usage,” said Katrina Spade, inventor of NOR. “We look forward to working with Representative Titone and Senator Rodriguez to make sure this new alternative to conventional after-death practices is available to all Coloradans who want it.”

Spade is the CEO of Recompose, a death care company that will be offering natural organic reduction services as soon as 2021.

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Suzie Ziegler

Suzie is a digital content producer and reporter. Learn more about Suzie here.

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