I am a very committed environmentalist but I had never even thought of this before.
"In 2015, cremations outpaced burials for the first time in United States history. And as the National Funeral Directors Association points out, this upward trend is set to continue over the coming decades, with the national cremation rate predicted to reach nearly 80 percent by 2035. Still, while cremation has obvious environmental advantages over burial—think of all the wood, reinforced concrete, steel, copper and carcinogenic formaldehyde needed to inter the deceased—the process isn’t as Earth-friendly as you might think. In fact, Laura Yan reported for Pacific Standard in 2016, cremation releases 600 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.
Human composting is the brainchild of Katrina Spade, CEO of alternative burial company Recompose. Speaking with local news station KIRO 7, Spade explains that recomposition involves moving the body to a specially designed facility—“part public park, part funeral home, part memorial to the people we love,” in the entrepreneur’s words—and placing it inside of a vessel filled with wood chips, alfalfa and straw. After several weeks of microbial activity, the body breaks down into soil that can then be given to family of the deceased or used by conservation groups to “nourish the [surrounding] land.” Overall, the process uses an eighth of the energy required for cremation and saves more than one metric ton of carbon dioxide for every individual who opts to use it."
Regulations vary state by state so it will depend on your state whether you can use it.
"Still, if the recent spate of states legalizing alkaline hydrolysis, a method of dissolving remains with the help of heat, pressure, water and chemicals such as lye, is any indication, this may be a viable scenario within the next several years."
19 states so far have legalized that method which is also known as “liquid cremation.”
So, maybe human composting will be approved everywhere.