Becoming Soil When You Die – Human composting aka Natural Organic Reduction is a thing!

I am a gardener by nature and have tended a few compost piles over the years. I found the benefits of maintaining the heap of nutrient-dense material totally outweighed some minor annoyances that went along with the process, like field mice moving in and chickens spreading the pile all over the yard.

I love the soil that compost piles create and it makes me feel like a better person than when I throw our kitchen scraps in the trash.

What if we could send our body off somewhere to be turned into soil? Feed the earth? Help the environment? I like the sound of that.

I found out a couple months ago that composting human bodies, formally known as Natural Organic Reduction, is a real thing! So, basically, your body can be turned into soil and spread on protected lands.

This highly respectful process is considered a green alternative to cremation (most definitely not green due to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere) and “conventional” burial which is also not green due to embalming, casket materials, concrete lined-graves, and green lawn cemetery care requirements.

Have you heard of the process called Natural Organic Reduction?

What do you think about it? I want a green alternative for my body so I am checking out the choices. There aren’t many.

Join us on Zoom to learn more about it with me!

Full Circle of Living and Dying is hosting an online (Zoom) event called Becoming Soil When You Die on Wednesday July 21st at 4p Pacific Time.

(This page edited 9/16/21)

Here’s the recorded event from July 21st 2021:

When Full Circle’s co-founder and administrator Akhila Murphy told me about the event, I got so excited that I created an Eventbrite profile for Full Circle and tickets you can get online! I am finding fun ways to volunteer for this educational organization I love.

Check it out here and please share on social media:

Suggested Donation is $15, but Eventbrite will let you donate as little as $1 (which converts to $1.03 to cover the processing fee). Your donation goes to Full Circle and to the Felix Gillet Institute.

If you don’t have a $1, contact me. I’ll cover it for you cuz you gotta see this amazing option for your body after you die! If nothing more than to be wow’d by folks who are taking green living seriously to the very end.

The Event


Recompose outreach manager Anna Swenson will cover the science behind the NOR process, the history of bringing Recompose to life, the importance of greener death care options, and the status of AB501 – to legalize Natural Organic Reduction options in California.


Jenifer Bliss President of Felix Gillet Institute – a non-profit 501(c)(3) – wife of the late Amigo Bob of Nevada County, will also join us and to speak about Recompose and her experience of human composting.

I am really curious about this thing called Natural Organic Reduction also known as human composting. It is offered by Recompose, a Seattle, WA company, who is also trying to get a law (AB501) passed in California so we wouldn’t have to get someone to drive our body all the way to Washington state for this option.

By the way, about those compost piles of mine…

The field mice moving in was kinda gross and creepy. They burrow in and have their babies deep inside the pile and that’s just not right. The chickens spreading it out all over the place was entertaining, but that required me to rake it all back onto the pile every day. At least I got some exercise out of it, muscles and patience! Those hens just couldn’t wait until I built up the pile again so they could proceed to tear it down in search of worms and whatever.

In my pursuit of composting for green living reasons, I even tried worm bins that lived in my kitchen for a while. That was great fun. Those bins didn’t involve pesky mice or chickens making more work for me. However, they did require a bit more technical attention than I was willing to devote over the long haul. Too much water, not enough water, there was always a balance to seek.

I got lazy about it. Then some bugs started crawling around in there. In the end, I dumped the redworms that drive the composting cycle into the outside lidded compost bin that the chickens couldn’t get into.

These days I compost right there in the flower beds. I learned about it in a book called Grow Your Soil! Harness the Power of the Soil Food Web to Create Your Best Garden Ever by Diane Miessler. Great book!

Natural Organic Reduction in a controlled environment sounds good to me. No mice or chickens involved!

One more tidbit…

Apparently, ranchers use this method for cattle and someone figured out this was an ecologically friendly idea for disposing of human bodies. That brilliant someone is Katrina Spade of Recompose. Here’s her TedX talk in 2016.

The TedX talk is from 2016, but I am here to tell you, she made her vision come true!

If you are convinced you need to learn more, you can use this form to order your ticket:

Naturally, I think of my own death from time to time. Or in this case, I am thinking about what I want done with my body after my spirit is done with it.

What is your plan? If you feel so moved, drop a comment.

Thanks for being here. See ya next time out there in the ethos!

If you are new here, don’t forget to follow my blog by email! I promise it’s not always about death, but yea, a fair amount is.

2 Replies to “Becoming Soil When You Die – Human composting aka Natural Organic Reduction is a thing!”

  1. Oh my goodness, I am learning a lot. I now know my options, and what I am going to do when I cross over. Now it is important to educate my family on this process, and honor my wishes. Thanks for the information, with much respect. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very welcome! You’ve made my day by letting me know this is useful 🙂

      Recompose’s website is informative. I think they are the only place doing this, so far? If you aren’t in Washington state it’ll take some extra planning, but I’ve been told it is doable.

      In the meantime, I hope life is good in your neck-o-the-woods.


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