Forum From the Archives: Would You Consider Becoming Compost?

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 (Suntorn Somtong via Getty Images)

Come 2027, Californians will have a new post-death option: to become human compost. A law signed by Governor Newsom this month made California the fifth state to legalize “natural organic reduction,” which lets human bodies decompose into a cubic yard of soil. While green burials — the process of wrapping the deceased in a shroud and placing them in the ground — are already legal, composting doesn’t require a dedicated portion of land. And though it’s more expensive than cremation, it’s also less carbon-intensive. We’ll talk about the new law and hear whether you’d want to become human compost.

This segment originally aired Sept. 27


Courtney Applewhite, doctoral candidate studying environmental disposition ("eco-funerals"), UC Santa Barbara

Cristina Garcia, assembly member, representing California's 58th Assembly District

Katrina Spade, founder and CEO, Recompose