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The Legality of Eco-Friendly Burial

 

At Return Home, we believe that decisions regarding final disposition should be made based on what is important to each person and their loved ones. All options—including eco-friendly ones—should be available and accessible to everyone.

 

 

However, when considering an eco-friendly burial method such as green burial or natural organic reduction, it can be hard to know where to begin. In some communities, legal guidelines surrounding the process are minimal, vague, and confusing.

 

 

To ease the burden of researching green burial and natural organic reduction, this guide will explain the legality of various eco-friendly burial options. It will also provide a clear and simple plan for pursuing an eco-friendly burial.

 

 

The information here is highly subject to change. State legislation is updated frequently, so we will provide resources to continue this research independently.

 

 

What options are available for eco-friendly burial today?

 

 

Before exploring the legality of eco-friendly burial, it is essential to understand the green burial options available in the U.S. today. The definitions used here are the legal definitions provided by the Washington State Legislature.

 

 

Natural Organic Reduction (Terramation or Human Composting)

 

 

Natural organic reduction, more commonly known as human composting or terramation is a novel approach to body disposition. It combines the natural principles of decomposition with the desire to avoid the negative environmental impacts associated with traditional burial methods.

 

 

The Washington State Legislature defines natural organic reduction as “the contained, accelerated conversion of human remains to soil.” This process begins with the placement of the deceased body into a pod with woodchips and alfalfa. These natural materials provide insulation and allow for decomposition to occur rapidly. After approximately 60 days, the body decomposes into soil. The soil is legally classified under the same category as cremated remains (ashes), and family and loved ones may use or dispose of the soil as they see fit.

 

 

Alkaline Hydrolysis (Water Cremation)

 

 

Alkaline hydrolysis is a non-intrusive disposition method with a minimal environmental impact. The Washington State Legislature defines the process as “the reduction of human remains to bone fragments and essential elements in a licensed hydrolysis facility using heat, water, and base chemical agents.”

 

 

A funeral director places the body of the deceased into a large chamber with a mixture of water and alkaline chemicals. The chamber is sealed and heated to 200-300°F for several hours, producing a sterile liquid solution. The bones of the deceased, which cannot be broken down through hydrolysis, are pulverized into ash, just as they would be after a traditional cremation. These remains are given to the family to be scattered, buried, or placed in an urn.

 

 

Green Burial

 

 

Specific processes can vary, but at its most basic green burial is a simple, chemical-free interment in a natural wooden box. Green burial has almost no adverse environmental impact because it does not involve embalming, cremation, or other potentially harmful processes. The body is laid in an untreated wood coffin or a biodegradable burial shroud and buried in the ground, allowing for natural decomposition to take place over time. Green burials often require special land permits or a green cemetery.

 

 

Are Eco-Friendly Burials Legal?

 

 

In a word, yes! The three eco-friendly disposition methods described above are all legal in the state of Washington.

 

 

Natural organic reduction

 

 

When natural organic reduction was first introduced, the “traditional” burial methods of embalming and cremation were deeply entrenched in American society, and terramation was subject to a great deal of criticism. However, as more Washington citizens began to support eco-friendly disposition methods, a movement to diversify death care grew in earnest.

 

 

This movement was first recognized in the Washington State Government by State Senator Jamie Pedersen, who advocated for the legalization of natural organic reduction and alkaline hydrolysis.

 

 

When was natural organic reduction approved?

 

 

Pedersen’s original bill failed, but was reintroduced in 2019. The Washington State Legislature passed the new bill—Senate Bill 5001—in April 2019, and it took effect on May 1, 2020. SB 5001 legalized both natural organic reduction and alkaline hydrolysis in Washington State.

 

 

Where is natural organic reduction legal?

 

 

Currently, Washington is the only state in the U.S. where natural organic reduction is legal. We recognize, however that there are people who wish to be terramated that live outside Washington State. Accordingly, Return Home is working to coordinate long-distance transportation for people from outside of Washington State; contact us for details.

 

 

Why did the approval process take so long?

 

 

Before the Washington legislature could approve Natural organic reduction as a feasible disposition method, a great deal of research was conducted into how long it takes to fully compost a human body, which natural materials provide the best insulation, and soil toxicity after recomposition is complete.

 

 

These studies found that the composting process takes 45-60 days when surrounded by wood chips, alfalfa, and similar natural insulation. The composted remains turned into a slightly alkaline soil that had no foul odor. Microbes responsible for the decomposition of the body also destroy pathogens and process non-organic elements, resulting in sterile soil within the acceptable federal limit for heavy metals.

 

 

After this research was complete, the existing cremation-related legislation was updated to include terminology specific to natural organic reduction and alkaline hydrolysis.

 

 

What restrictions exist surrounding natural organic reduction?

 

 

Natural organic reduction is a viable option for almost any person who wants to pursue an eco-friendly burial. In some rare cases, however, public health and safety concerns can restrict eligibility. An individual who passed away because of a highly infectious disease cannot be terramated, because infectious remains may be a human health hazard. The remains of an individual who suffered from prion diseases—such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease—also cannot be accepted for recomposition.

 

 

The sterile soil produced the end of the Natural organic reduction process is also legally regulated. According to Section 21 of Washington SB 5001, the soil is legally classified in the same category as ashes produced by traditional cremation or alkaline hydrolysis. The disposition of these remains “may occur on private property with the consent of the property owner; and on public or government lands or waters with the approval of the government agency that has either jurisdiction or control, or both, of the lands or waters.” In simpler terms, on private land, the family and loved ones of the deceased have full control over the final resting place of the soil created by the natural organic reduction process. If they wish, the family can scatter the soil in public places with appropriate government approval.

 

 

Alkaline Hydrolysis (Water cremation)

 

 

Under the legislative definition of cremation, alkaline hydrolysis has been legal for decades in several states. However, facilities that offer the practice were few and far between until recently. Alkaline hydrolysis equipment is expensive, totaling between $150,000 and $500,000, and many facilities are hesitant to invest such a large sum.

 

 

Despite this, there are several states where alkaline hydrolysis is legal and accessible.

 

 

Where is alkaline hydrolysis legal?

 

 

Alkaline hydrolysis is currently legal in 18 states, including:

 

 

  • California (Legalized July 1, 2020, not available in-state)
  • Colorado (Legalized in 2011)
  • Florida (Legalized in 2011)
  • Georgia (Legalized in 2012, not available in-state)
  • Idaho (Legalized in 2014, not available in-state)
  • Illinois (Legalized in 2012)
  • Kansas (Legalized in 2011, not available in-state)
  • Maine (Legalized in 2009)
  • Maryland (Legalized in 2010, not available in-state)
  • Minnesota (Legalized in 2003)
  • Missouri (Legal based on a general interpretation of existing cremation laws)
  • Nevada (Legalized in 2017)
  • North Carolina (Legalized in 2018)
  • Oregon (Legalized in 2009)
  • Utah (Legalized in 2018, not available in-state)
  • Vermont (Legalized in 2014, not available in-state)
  • Washington (Legalized in 2020)
  • Wyoming (Legalized in 2014, not available in-state)

 

 

Clearly, legalization does not always lead to accessibility. In states like Georgia and Idaho, Alkaline hydrolysis was legalized more than five years ago, but no funeral homes in-state offer the service. Of the 18 states in which alkaline hydrolysis is legal, it is only available in 9. This discrepancy is buoyed by the fact that legalization in states like Washington is incredibly recent. It is likely that facilities in these states will soon adjust and add alkaline hydrolysis to their offerings.

 

 

What restrictions exist surrounding alkaline hydrolysis?

 

 

In some states, legalization of alkaline hydrolysis has been immediately followed by the reversal of the bill. In New Hampshire, lawmakers repealed the legalization in 2008, only two years after it was first passed. A new bill was proposed in 2013, but it failed; no relevant measures have been put forth in New Hampshire since. Similarly, the Ohio Senate passed an alkaline hydrolysis bill that was later turned down due to dissent from the Catholic Conference of Bishops, resulting in the movement’s failure. This constant back-and-forth can leave those considering Alkaline hydrolysis on shaky ground, unsure how to plan for the future.

 

 

In states where alkaline hydrolysis is legal, it can still be challenging to find a facility with the proper equipment to perform the method. Some facilities are willing to ship remains out of state for processing.

 

 

Ultimately, the most significant restriction on alkaline hydrolysis is physical location. In states where the method is not yet legal, it would be necessary to find a facility that offers the process out of state, and then the body would need to be shipped there. Even in states where alkaline hydrolysis is legal, it may be difficult or impossible to find a facility which is properly equipped.

 

 

Green Burial

 

 

Many of the standard components of a traditional burial, including the use of burial vaults and caskets, are not based on legal requirements or guidelines, but simply on societal customs.

 

 

American federal law requires that all funeral homes offer a green “Direct Burial”—a hybrid offering where the body undergoes no treatment or embalming, and is buried in a modest wooden casket. However, all funeral homes must follow rigid restrictions. Burial must take place within 24 hours, a deadline almost impossible to meet in an eco-friendly manner without a pre-prepared green cemetery or private burial plot. Without extensive planning, remains would be buried in a normal cemetery, and the burial would not be entirely green.

 

 

Of course, the decision to pursue a green burial is highly personal, and pre-planning a green burial plot is not always possible. Even without extensive preparation, some adverse environmental impacts can be avoided. As long as no chemicals are used and no specialized or treated casket is purchased, a direct burial can be much less environmentally harmful than a traditional one.

 

 

Where is green burial legal?

 

 

No federal laws prohibit green burial in the United States. However, federal and state laws regulate the legality of the burial’s location, land ownership, grave depth, and more.

 

 

Burial on private land is permitted in all states except Arkansas, but counties and cities have highly variable zoning requirements and regulations, especially in urban and suburban areas. Some counties allow private property to be designated as a documented private family cemetery. Many individuals prefer to coordinate with a green cemetery, where a facility manages legal requirements and maintains the burial plot for a one-time fee.

 

 

What restrictions exist surrounding green burial?

 

 

Many green cemeteries prohibit the use of burial vaults or caskets made out of metal or other non-biodegradable materials. Most states require that the body is buried or naturally preserved (refrigerated) within 24 hours of death.

 

 

The most complex regulations surrounding green burial are the zoning and land use requirements. Many states allow for “home burial,” or the burial of human bodies on a family’s private property, but strictly regulate how far from buildings and water sources bodies can be interred, and at what depth. Home burials are not legal in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Louisiana, or Washington State.

 

 

In these states, or for those to whom home burial does not appeal, green cemeteries allow for the opening, closing, and maintenance of the grave. They ensure that the Green Burial adheres to all local and state regulations while allowing the facility to handle protocol so the family doesn’t have to. green cemeteries usually provide these services in return for a one-time fee.

 

 

Individual cemeteries may have guidelines for the green burial of bodies that have pacemakers, screws, joint replacements, fillings, or other hardware. The removal of these items is invasive, and their impact on the environment after decomposition is negligible, so many facilities opt to leave them in place.

 

 

Although these broad guidelines are standard, individual state and county regulations vary widely. Check with local green cemeteries and regional governmental organizations to learn more.

 

 

The Path to Eco-Friendly Burial

 

 

Beginning to plan green burial doesn’t have to be confusing. These steps will clearly outline how to choose features and options for final disposition.

 

 

Step One: Decide on a type of eco-friendly burial.

 

 

Which disposition method fits the needs of the burial? Consider the economic, emotional, and practical aspects. These might include:

 

 

  • Conservation of natural resources
  • Creating a spiritual or religious experience
  • Connecting with nature
  • Leaving family and friends with a lasting memory
  • The end product (A bench in a memorial garden? Ashes? Soil?)
  • The cost of different eco-friendly burial options
  • The importance of a burial liner, casket, or shroud (or lack thereof)

 

 

Step Two: Explore Federal, State, and Local Regulations

 

 

The practicality of eco-friendly burial options can vary by state, county, and city. Only 18 U.S. states allow Alkaline hydrolysis, and Natural organic reduction is only legal and available in Washington State. If necessary, consider how feasible the arrangement and shipment of remains would be, and how much time or cost it would add to the burial. Contacting final disposition facilities can help when discussing details and logistics. Roadblocks or impasses may come up during this process. If they do, return to Step One and consider an alternative.

 

 

Step Three: Reach out to local facilities or cemeteries

 

 

If the preferred disposition method is legal and available, engage with a local facility or cemetery to create a plan. Eco-friendly burial options are available and attainable, but planning ahead ensures a smoother process down the road.

 

 

Research and Resources

 

 

No matter the level of knowledge and commitment, research and preparation are always good ideas. The Funeral Consumer’s Alliance of Minnesota has excellent resources on alkaline hydrolysis, and the Green Burial Council is the leading provider of information on Green Burial. Laws can change quickly, and what may be illegal or unavailable now could be legalized soon. The New Hampshire Funeral Resources provides an easy-to-read table of legal burial requirements by state here.

 

 

Return Home has the information and resources to help plan natural organic reduction. Contact us to learn more about our process, pricing, and options for out-of-state individuals.

 

The Legality of Eco-Friendly Burial

 

At Return Home, we believe that decisions regarding final disposition should be made based on what is important to each person and their loved ones. All options—including eco-friendly ones—should be available and accessible to everyone.

 

 

However, when considering an eco-friendly burial method such as green burial or natural organic reduction, it can be hard to know where to begin. In some communities, legal guidelines surrounding the process are minimal, vague, and confusing.

 

 

To ease the burden of researching green burial and natural organic reduction, this guide will explain the legality of various eco-friendly burial options. It will also provide a clear and simple plan for pursuing an eco-friendly burial.

 

 

The information here is highly subject to change. State legislation is updated frequently, so we will provide resources to continue this research independently.

 

 

What options are available for eco-friendly burial today?

 

 

Before exploring the legality of eco-friendly burial, it is essential to understand the green burial options available in the U.S. today. The definitions used here are the legal definitions provided by the Washington State Legislature.

 

 

Natural Organic Reduction (Terramation or Human Composting)

 

 

Natural organic reduction, more commonly known as human composting or terramation is a novel approach to body disposition. It combines the natural principles of decomposition with the desire to avoid the negative environmental impacts associated with traditional burial methods.

 

 

The Washington State Legislature defines natural organic reduction as “the contained, accelerated conversion of human remains to soil.” This process begins with the placement of the deceased body into a pod with woodchips and alfalfa. These natural materials provide insulation and allow for decomposition to occur rapidly. After approximately 60 days, the body decomposes into soil. The soil is legally classified under the same category as cremated remains (ashes), and family and loved ones may use or dispose of the soil as they see fit.

 

 

Alkaline Hydrolysis (Water Cremation)

 

 

Alkaline hydrolysis is a non-intrusive disposition method with a minimal environmental impact. The Washington State Legislature defines the process as “the reduction of human remains to bone fragments and essential elements in a licensed hydrolysis facility using heat, water, and base chemical agents.”

 

 

A funeral director places the body of the deceased into a large chamber with a mixture of water and alkaline chemicals. The chamber is sealed and heated to 200-300°F for several hours, producing a sterile liquid solution. The bones of the deceased, which cannot be broken down through hydrolysis, are pulverized into ash, just as they would be after a traditional cremation. These remains are given to the family to be scattered, buried, or placed in an urn.

 

 

Green Burial

 

 

Specific processes can vary, but at its most basic green burial is a simple, chemical-free interment in a natural wooden box. Green burial has almost no adverse environmental impact because it does not involve embalming, cremation, or other potentially harmful processes. The body is laid in an untreated wood coffin or a biodegradable burial shroud and buried in the ground, allowing for natural decomposition to take place over time. Green burials often require special land permits or a green cemetery.

 

 

Are Eco-Friendly Burials Legal?

 

 

In a word, yes! The three eco-friendly disposition methods described above are all legal in the state of Washington.

 

 

Natural organic reduction

 

 

When natural organic reduction was first introduced, the “traditional” burial methods of embalming and cremation were deeply entrenched in American society, and terramation was subject to a great deal of criticism. However, as more Washington citizens began to support eco-friendly disposition methods, a movement to diversify death care grew in earnest.

 

 

This movement was first recognized in the Washington State Government by State Senator Jamie Pedersen, who advocated for the legalization of natural organic reduction and alkaline hydrolysis.

 

 

When was natural organic reduction approved?

 

 

Pedersen’s original bill failed, but was reintroduced in 2019. The Washington State Legislature passed the new bill—Senate Bill 5001—in April 2019, and it took effect on May 1, 2020. SB 5001 legalized both natural organic reduction and alkaline hydrolysis in Washington State.

 

 

Where is natural organic reduction legal?

 

 

Currently, Washington is the only state in the U.S. where natural organic reduction is legal. We recognize, however that there are people who wish to be terramated that live outside Washington State. Accordingly, Return Home is working to coordinate long-distance transportation for people from outside of Washington State; contact us for details.

 

 

Why did the approval process take so long?

 

 

Before the Washington legislature could approve Natural organic reduction as a feasible disposition method, a great deal of research was conducted into how long it takes to fully compost a human body, which natural materials provide the best insulation, and soil toxicity after recomposition is complete.

 

 

These studies found that the composting process takes 45-60 days when surrounded by wood chips, alfalfa, and similar natural insulation. The composted remains turned into a slightly alkaline soil that had no foul odor. Microbes responsible for the decomposition of the body also destroy pathogens and process non-organic elements, resulting in sterile soil within the acceptable federal limit for heavy metals.

 

 

After this research was complete, the existing cremation-related legislation was updated to include terminology specific to natural organic reduction and alkaline hydrolysis.

 

 

What restrictions exist surrounding natural organic reduction?

 

 

Natural organic reduction is a viable option for almost any person who wants to pursue an eco-friendly burial. In some rare cases, however, public health and safety concerns can restrict eligibility. An individual who passed away because of a highly infectious disease cannot be terramated, because infectious remains may be a human health hazard. The remains of an individual who suffered from prion diseases—such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease—also cannot be accepted for recomposition.

 

 

The sterile soil produced the end of the Natural organic reduction process is also legally regulated. According to Section 21 of Washington SB 5001, the soil is legally classified in the same category as ashes produced by traditional cremation or alkaline hydrolysis. The disposition of these remains “may occur on private property with the consent of the property owner; and on public or government lands or waters with the approval of the government agency that has either jurisdiction or control, or both, of the lands or waters.” In simpler terms, on private land, the family and loved ones of the deceased have full control over the final resting place of the soil created by the natural organic reduction process. If they wish, the family can scatter the soil in public places with appropriate government approval.

 

 

Alkaline Hydrolysis (Water cremation)

 

 

Under the legislative definition of cremation, alkaline hydrolysis has been legal for decades in several states. However, facilities that offer the practice were few and far between until recently. Alkaline hydrolysis equipment is expensive, totaling between $150,000 and $500,000, and many facilities are hesitant to invest such a large sum.

 

 

Despite this, there are several states where alkaline hydrolysis is legal and accessible.

 

 

Where is alkaline hydrolysis legal?

 

 

Alkaline hydrolysis is currently legal in 18 states, including:

 

 

  • California (Legalized July 1, 2020, not available in-state)
  • Colorado (Legalized in 2011)
  • Florida (Legalized in 2011)
  • Georgia (Legalized in 2012, not available in-state)
  • Idaho (Legalized in 2014, not available in-state)
  • Illinois (Legalized in 2012)
  • Kansas (Legalized in 2011, not available in-state)
  • Maine (Legalized in 2009)
  • Maryland (Legalized in 2010, not available in-state)
  • Minnesota (Legalized in 2003)
  • Missouri (Legal based on a general interpretation of existing cremation laws)
  • Nevada (Legalized in 2017)
  • North Carolina (Legalized in 2018)
  • Oregon (Legalized in 2009)
  • Utah (Legalized in 2018, not available in-state)
  • Vermont (Legalized in 2014, not available in-state)
  • Washington (Legalized in 2020)
  • Wyoming (Legalized in 2014, not available in-state)

 

 

Clearly, legalization does not always lead to accessibility. In states like Georgia and Idaho, Alkaline hydrolysis was legalized more than five years ago, but no funeral homes in-state offer the service. Of the 18 states in which alkaline hydrolysis is legal, it is only available in 9. This discrepancy is buoyed by the fact that legalization in states like Washington is incredibly recent. It is likely that facilities in these states will soon adjust and add alkaline hydrolysis to their offerings.

 

 

What restrictions exist surrounding alkaline hydrolysis?

 

 

In some states, legalization of alkaline hydrolysis has been immediately followed by the reversal of the bill. In New Hampshire, lawmakers repealed the legalization in 2008, only two years after it was first passed. A new bill was proposed in 2013, but it failed; no relevant measures have been put forth in New Hampshire since. Similarly, the Ohio Senate passed an alkaline hydrolysis bill that was later turned down due to dissent from the Catholic Conference of Bishops, resulting in the movement’s failure. This constant back-and-forth can leave those considering Alkaline hydrolysis on shaky ground, unsure how to plan for the future.

 

 

In states where alkaline hydrolysis is legal, it can still be challenging to find a facility with the proper equipment to perform the method. Some facilities are willing to ship remains out of state for processing.

 

 

Ultimately, the most significant restriction on alkaline hydrolysis is physical location. In states where the method is not yet legal, it would be necessary to find a facility that offers the process out of state, and then the body would need to be shipped there. Even in states where alkaline hydrolysis is legal, it may be difficult or impossible to find a facility which is properly equipped.

 

 

Green Burial

 

 

Many of the standard components of a traditional burial, including the use of burial vaults and caskets, are not based on legal requirements or guidelines, but simply on societal customs.

 

 

American federal law requires that all funeral homes offer a green “Direct Burial”—a hybrid offering where the body undergoes no treatment or embalming, and is buried in a modest wooden casket. However, all funeral homes must follow rigid restrictions. Burial must take place within 24 hours, a deadline almost impossible to meet in an eco-friendly manner without a pre-prepared green cemetery or private burial plot. Without extensive planning, remains would be buried in a normal cemetery, and the burial would not be entirely green.

 

 

Of course, the decision to pursue a green burial is highly personal, and pre-planning a green burial plot is not always possible. Even without extensive preparation, some adverse environmental impacts can be avoided. As long as no chemicals are used and no specialized or treated casket is purchased, a direct burial can be much less environmentally harmful than a traditional one.

 

 

Where is green burial legal?

 

 

No federal laws prohibit green burial in the United States. However, federal and state laws regulate the legality of the burial’s location, land ownership, grave depth, and more.

 

 

Burial on private land is permitted in all states except Arkansas, but counties and cities have highly variable zoning requirements and regulations, especially in urban and suburban areas. Some counties allow private property to be designated as a documented private family cemetery. Many individuals prefer to coordinate with a green cemetery, where a facility manages legal requirements and maintains the burial plot for a one-time fee.

 

 

What restrictions exist surrounding green burial?

 

 

Many green cemeteries prohibit the use of burial vaults or caskets made out of metal or other non-biodegradable materials. Most states require that the body is buried or naturally preserved (refrigerated) within 24 hours of death.

 

 

The most complex regulations surrounding green burial are the zoning and land use requirements. Many states allow for “home burial,” or the burial of human bodies on a family’s private property, but strictly regulate how far from buildings and water sources bodies can be interred, and at what depth. Home burials are not legal in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Louisiana, or Washington State.

 

 

In these states, or for those to whom home burial does not appeal, green cemeteries allow for the opening, closing, and maintenance of the grave. They ensure that the Green Burial adheres to all local and state regulations while allowing the facility to handle protocol so the family doesn’t have to. green cemeteries usually provide these services in return for a one-time fee.

 

 

Individual cemeteries may have guidelines for the green burial of bodies that have pacemakers, screws, joint replacements, fillings, or other hardware. The removal of these items is invasive, and their impact on the environment after decomposition is negligible, so many facilities opt to leave them in place.

 

 

Although these broad guidelines are standard, individual state and county regulations vary widely. Check with local green cemeteries and regional governmental organizations to learn more.

 

 

The Path to Eco-Friendly Burial

 

 

Beginning to plan green burial doesn’t have to be confusing. These steps will clearly outline how to choose features and options for final disposition.

 

 

Step One: Decide on a type of eco-friendly burial.

 

 

Which disposition method fits the needs of the burial? Consider the economic, emotional, and practical aspects. These might include:

 

 

  • Conservation of natural resources
  • Creating a spiritual or religious experience
  • Connecting with nature
  • Leaving family and friends with a lasting memory
  • The end product (A bench in a memorial garden? Ashes? Soil?)
  • The cost of different eco-friendly burial options
  • The importance of a burial liner, casket, or shroud (or lack thereof)

 

 

Step Two: Explore Federal, State, and Local Regulations

 

 

The practicality of eco-friendly burial options can vary by state, county, and city. Only 18 U.S. states allow Alkaline hydrolysis, and Natural organic reduction is only legal and available in Washington State. If necessary, consider how feasible the arrangement and shipment of remains would be, and how much time or cost it would add to the burial. Contacting final disposition facilities can help when discussing details and logistics. Roadblocks or impasses may come up during this process. If they do, return to Step One and consider an alternative.

 

 

Step Three: Reach out to local facilities or cemeteries

 

 

If the preferred disposition method is legal and available, engage with a local facility or cemetery to create a plan. Eco-friendly burial options are available and attainable, but planning ahead ensures a smoother process down the road.

 

 

Research and Resources

 

 

No matter the level of knowledge and commitment, research and preparation are always good ideas. The Funeral Consumer’s Alliance of Minnesota has excellent resources on alkaline hydrolysis, and the Green Burial Council is the leading provider of information on Green Burial. Laws can change quickly, and what may be illegal or unavailable now could be legalized soon. The New Hampshire Funeral Resources provides an easy-to-read table of legal burial requirements by state here.

 

 

Return Home has the information and resources to help plan natural organic reduction. Contact us to learn more about our process, pricing, and options for out-of-state individuals.