Natural organic reduction - plant growing in soil

Natural Organic Reduction: Alternatives To Traditional Burial And Cremation

By: Tom Harries

Feb 25, 2022 | Green Funeral Practice

3 min read

Natural organic reduction is a green alternative to traditional burial and cremation. As a process that is both environmentally friendly and conceptually appealing, it presents an attractive option as more people become conscious of the environmental impact of traditional funeral practices. From the excess CO2 emissions from cremation to the soil pollution caused by traditional burials, current burial and cremation practices are increasingly unsustainable.

This article looks at what natural organic reduction involves, its environmental benefits, and its differences to other funeral practices.

What Is Natural Organic Reduction?

Natural organic reduction is a process that gently transforms a body into nutrient-rich soil. Some of the soil is returned to the family - to scatter or plant - with the rest used for conservation purposes.

The soil becomes a means to return nutrients from our bodies to the natural world. In turn, it can be used to restore forests, sequester carbon, and revitalize challenged ecosystems.

Natural organic reduction is also often known as soil transformation or human composting.

How Long Does Natural Organic Reduction Take?

Natural organic reduction’s accelerated natural process is possible through the optimizing of conditions for natural microbes and beneficial bacteria. The process typically takes place over a 30 day period. The end result is a cubic-yard of healthy, nutrient-rich soil.

How Does Natural Organic Reduction Work?

During the natural organic reduction process, the body is placed in a vessel that is purpose-built. This equipment recreates and optimizes conditions that are found in the natural world.

The vessel carefully balances oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and water, as well as maintains optimal temperature and moisture. Naturally occurring microbes and beneficial bacteria then transform the body. Wildflowers, woodchip, mulch and other organic materials are added to provide the right balance of nitrogen and carbon.

Earth facility based in Washington

Natural organic reduction is carried out in facilities purpose-designed for this specific service. Earth provides its service from state-of-the-art facilities, which form a serene and tranquil environment for soil transformation.

Is Natural Organic Reduction Good For The Environment?

Natural organic reduction is carbon neutral and the healthy soil output can be used for conservation purposes. It is therefore an eco-friendly process, avoiding environmental harm and having an actively positive effect.

The process returns the body to the natural world in the form of healthy soil. Soil is important for a healthy ecosystem: healthy soil filters water, provides nutrients to wildlife, and helps regulate global temperatures.

Comparing Natural Organic Reduction & Traditional Burial

In both natural organic reduction and traditional burial the body is returned to the ground post-mortem. The two processes share little else in common, with natural organic reduction a far friendlier practice for the environment. 

Traditional burials are resource-intense, and contribute to a consumption of urban land at an unsustainable rate.

Natural organic reduction can have a significant positive impact on soil health. In contrast, traditional burials can pollute the soil. Vast quantities of metals, woods and concrete are buried in the earth in the form of caskets. In the US alone, more than four million gallons of embalming fluid are buried each year. 

Comparing Natural Organic Reduction & Cremation

Natural organic reduction and cremation have more in common conceptually, with both processes transforming the body into remains. While cremation involves incineration of a body into ash, natural organic reduction transforms a body into healthy soil.

From an environmental perspective, natural organic reduction is again the better option. Cremation relies on fossil fuels and therefore emits high levels of carbon dioxide. A single cremation produces approximately 535 lbs of CO2. To put this into perspective, this is the amount produced by a 609-mile car journey.

Natural Organic Reduction: The Green Funeral Choice

Natural organic reduction is the choice for nature lovers, conservationists, and anybody that wishes to protect the planet for future generations.

Learn more about Earth’s soil transformation services here. You can get a quote for immediate or future needs here.

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