Tall tree covered forest - Earth

Where Is Soil Transformation Available?

By: Tom Harries

May 31, 2022 | Soil Transformation

3 min read

Soil transformation is a natural, environmentally-friendly alternative to burial and cremation. Rather than being incinerated and turned into ash, a body is gently transformed into nutrient-rich soil. The process is also sometimes known as natural organic reduction or human composting.

As a green and appealing alternative to pollutive traditional funeral practices, interest in soil transformation has increased significantly in the past couple of years. As awareness of the process has grown, so has support. A number of states have legalized the process and Bills are currently making their way through the legislative processes of other states.

This article highlights where soil transformation is available and how transportation can be arranged for those outside these areas. It also looks at the process itself in a bit more detail.

Areas Where Soil Transformation Is Legally Available

In 2019, Washington became the first state to legalize soil transformation, with the law taking effect in May 2020. Since then, the process has also been legalized in Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, California and New York.

Bills to legalize soil transformation are currently in progress in Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts and Minnesota.

Hands holding soil - Earth soil transformation

Bills were considered but did not pass in Hawaii and Maine. Supporters remain in these states with bills continuing to be re-proposed, and interest is growing in other states.

View our tracker for full details of the legislation in each state.

Transporting Remains

Many people would like soil transformation to be part of their end-of-life planning. If you don’t live in a state where the process is currently available, interstate transportation may still make these funeral arrangements possible.

State laws regarding the transportation of remains vary, and so it is important that you check applicable laws and regulations. Your funeral home may be able to advise you on this.

One method of transportation is a ‘ship out’, which you can organize through most funeral homes. Ship out services are usually used when someone dies far away from their home or their intended final resting place. Such journeys may include air travel.

Ship out fees can be quite expensive, which should be taken into account during your funeral planning. Long transportation distances also undo some of the significant environmental benefits of soil transformation. One way of offsetting this would be to calculate the CO2 emissions of the journey using a simple online calculator and then purchase a carbon offset. There are a number of nonprofits who plant trees and undertake other activities calculated to offset carbon dioxide emissions.

Transporting remains - soil transformation

To be the most environmentally conscious, you should consider your choice of vessel for transportation. Natural-wood caskets or combination units made from cardboard materials would be the greenest options and are also suitable for shipping purposes. Another important choice to remain eco-friendly is to use dry ice for transportation rather than an embalming process. Bodies that have been embalmed cannot undergo the soil transformation process.

Transportation cannot take place until a burial transit permit is complete. This is usually obtained when working with your funeral director to issue a death certificate. In the meantime, families can use the funeral home’s refrigeration facilities. A funeral home will be able to organize the various parts required for transportation, including during any waiting period.

Timeline Of The Reduction Process

The soil transformation time frame depends on the provider, but typically takes around 30 days. 

At Earth, our process produces approximately one cubic-yard of soil, a portion of which is returned to families, and the remainder is sent to local conservation sites for land restoration purposes. We can send soil to any US postal address via USPS Priority Mail Express. It can also be hand delivered to an address in our service area or collected in person from our facility.

Explore

At Earth, we provide soil transformation through our unique process. To see our service area and the location of our facilities, click here.

Whether you need our services soon or you’re planning for the future, we’re here to help. To read more about our services and to get a quote, click here.

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