The US state of Washington has become the first state to legalise the option of composting human remains as an alternative to burial or cremation.
The bill was signed by Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday (local time), and will be effective as of May next year.
This option of "recomposition", or human composting, is a relatively quick process of turning human remains into soil. A sponsor of the bill, state Senator Jamie Pedersen, said it is an environmentally-friendly way to dispose of human remains.
The bill allows licensed facilities to offer "natural organic reduction", according to CNN.
Katrina Spade, the CEO of human composting company, Recompose, told CNN: "The body is covered in natural materials, like straw or wood chips, and over the course of three to seven weeks, thanks to microbial activity, it breaks down into soil."
Recomposition is said to cost significantly less than what many families end up spending on burials. Spade told CNN she hopes to charge US$5,500 for recomposition (NZ$8,478).
Spade told CNN that the family of the deceased can visit the facility and will receive the soil of their loved one. It is then up to the family how they wish to use the soil.