Compost Round Up: “Composting Ourselves”

Well this puts a new twist on composting. Katrina Spade, former UMass Architecture student and now Seattle resident has a developed a project for those of us wanting an alternative burial. Yes, composting our bodies once we’ve passed on.

She calls it the Urban Death Project. The vision is a four-story building with a series of ramps, which the family and loved ones of a deceased person would walk through as a part of the ceremonial process. The body would be cleaned and wrapped and placed into the “core”, the compost pile of bodies mixed with woodchips and sawdust.

What could be the benefits of composting ourselves? Spade says it will it won’t take up arable land since cemeteries and individual plots consume space. Materials like steel, copper, and concrete for vaults and coffins will not damage land; trees can be preserved instead of cut down for coffins. Toxic chemicals for embalming won’t need to be used. High volumes of natural gas used to burn a body for cremation are also offset. Our bodies, nonetheless, are full of rich building blocks for soil, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus.

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