Arizona's Starts Trend In Eco-Friendly Endings, Let The Controversy BEGIN!

By Greg Moriarty | Wednesday, 10 April 2024 04:30 PM
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Arizona has joined a select group of states in the United States to legalize terramation, a process also known as human composting, as an alternative to conventional burial and cremation methods.

The legislation, known as House Bill 2081 and Senate Bill 1042 or the "Grandpa in the Garden Bill," was enacted into law by Governor Katie Hobbs on March 29. The law empowers certified funeral service providers to offer terramation.

Despite its increasing popularity, terramation has attracted criticism, particularly from religious organizations. The bill, championed by Republican Rep. Laurin Hendrix and Sen. TJ Shope, was passed with minimal resistance in both houses after its introduction in December of the previous year.

According to the Tucson Sentinel, terramation is currently legal in only seven states: Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, New York, Vermont, and Nevada. However, several other states are considering revising their laws to permit the practice.

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Jake Hinman, a lobbyist for Natural Organic Reduction of Arizona, emphasized the importance of choice. He stated, "If this process doesn't make sense to you, there are many other options out there for your loved ones, but for those that this does make a lot of sense to, we just want to have this option for Arizonans, and it's really as simple as that."

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The terramation process involves lining a container with organic materials such as straw and wood chips, placing the body inside, and covering it with a compostable blanket and additional organic matter. The container is then sealed and left for up to two months, during which the body decomposes fully into soil. This soil is then given to the deceased's family. The cost of terramation is approximately $6,000, significantly less than traditional burial services.

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Micah Truman, CEO of terramation provider Return Home, commented on the appeal of the process, saying, "There is something in us that wants to return to the Earth. When we're done we have a material that can then be used to restart the cycle of life."

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However, the practice has faced criticism from Catholic groups. The New York State Catholic Conference issued a statement last year, arguing that a process where human remains are composted and scattered "in a designated scattering garden or area in a cemetery" does not adequately respect the dignity of the deceased.

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