River in Delaware, amidst beautiful landscape, where human composting becomes legal in tenth US state

Human Composting is Now Legal in Maryland and Delaware

By: Team Earth

May 21, 2024 | Human Composting 101

1 min read

Two more states—Maryland and Delaware—have legalized human composting. They are the ninth and tenth to join a growing list of states with human composting bills on the books, making the option increasingly accessible across the United States.

Human composting is the process of transforming a body into nutrient-rich soil. Supporters of human composting have been pushing for legalization in both states, ever since the eco-friendly alternative to burial and cremation was first introduced in Washington (the first state to legalize it) in 2019.

Human composting bill approved unanimously in Maryland

The Green Death Care Options Act was signed into law by Governor Wes Moore on May 9 after unanimous approval by The Maryland House of Delegates. Along with legalizing human composting, the act allows crematories to use alkaline hydrolysis, or “water cremation.” Like traditional cremation, water cremation reduces the body to ash but without using fossil fuels. This expansion of green funeral options is a big win for Marylanders who are concerned about their impact on the environment. The legislation will take effect on October 1.

“Every year, this new law will give more than 50,000 families with loved ones who die in our state more choices that help the environment,” said Delegate Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery County).

Delaware is the tenth state to legalize human composting

Less than a week after Maryland legalized human composting, Delaware joined them. Governor John Carney signed Delaware’s HB 162 into law on May 16.

Senator Laura Sturgeon was a sponsor of the human composting legislation in Delaware. “I am proud to have helped usher this bill through the Delaware Senate so our neighbors can have the option of choosing a more environmentally friendly alternative to burial and cremation,” she said.

Delaware representatives consulted with Earth Funeral in the development of HB 162.

There are now ten states in the U.S. with human composting legislation, establishing important regulations and processes that make it possible for providers to offer this eco-friendly service.

Which state will be next? Follow our human composting tracker for the most up-to-date information.

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