Composting & Washington state

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Stephen
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Composting & Washington state

Postby Stephen » Wed May 29, 2019 2:53 pm

I heard this story on "The News Quiz" (which I found most amusing on the subject) and thought this is the ideal place to discuss the subject.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/21/eco-friendly-ending-washington-state-is-first-to-allow-human-composting

AS an alternative to cremation, I wouldn't have any objection. I don't have strong feelings about my physical remains, the memories that others have of me are more important (my soul, as it were).
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby Primrose » Wed May 29, 2019 3:21 pm

Where is Pa Snip when you need him? I'm sure he would have some interesting comments to make on this proposal ! Indeed. he hinted that he had not dissimilar thoughts in mind, although I'm not sure how serious he actually was.

Seriously, I think it's an idea worthy of consideration in a planet where the population is growing rapidly and we have concerns about the space available, and toxic elements that are released into the environment by the current act of cremation. I think the issue is that perhaps we need time to come to terms with new ideas when they don't always conform to the current social norms. Many years ago , the general population were totally horrified at the idea of cremation when burial in the ground was the only socially acceptable way of disposing of a corpse. Now it is the preferred way to go.

Social habits change greatly over a period of time. I'm sure that in the years to come this will be another acceptable way of dealing with death. After all, there are certain tribes in parts of the world where dead bodies are laid out on tall platforms on scaffolding so that vultures come and dispose of the corpse in a natural way. I think the main criterion should be that those who are left behind to mourn feel that they can be a peace with the way in which their loved once has departed. Enriching the soil in which we grow things seems to me a worthy and natural way of completing the human cycle and preferable to disposing of human ashes in rivers like the Ganges where they actually pollute the river, kill the wildlife living in it, and silt it up the waterways.

I'm not sure the time will ever come though where you go to your local Garden Centre and buy a bag of human composted remains. That would be a step too far!
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby Tony Hague » Wed May 29, 2019 4:00 pm

"Katrina Spade" - good name.
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby robo » Wed May 29, 2019 5:12 pm

I think it would be a great idea if we tried it out with the president ,as America's number 1 he should be a roll model
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby Westi » Wed May 29, 2019 6:44 pm

I'd be up for that, but there are questions obviously as a decomposing body our size would not be too pleasant to deal with! I suppose when/if it becomes an option it will also come in at a ridiculous price - best we get in quick then! Good find Stephen, that is interesting.
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby Primrose » Wed May 29, 2019 6:56 pm

Well this option may be better than having one's ashes put in a rocket and fired into space where we then pollute another environment other than the one which we currently inhabit.

You've got to hand it to the human species - we do a good job of polluting every environment into which we come in contact. As the only ones who have the mental capacity to think about the consequences, it doesn't really do us much credit, does it? Perhaps we deserve whatever fate is eventually coming to us.
Last edited by Primrose on Wed May 29, 2019 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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alan refail
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby alan refail » Wed May 29, 2019 8:02 pm

Walt Whitman was onto this well over a century ago.

This Compost
Walt Whitman - 1819-1892

Something startles me where I thought I was safest,
I withdraw from the still woods I loved,
I will not go now on the pastures to walk,
I will not strip the clothes from my body to meet my lover the sea,
I will not touch my flesh to the earth as to other flesh to renew me.

O how can it be that the ground itself does not sicken?
How can you be alive you growths of spring?
How can you furnish health you blood of herbs, roots, orchards, grain?
Are they not continually putting distemper'd corpses within you?
Is not every continent work'd over and over with sour dead?

Where have you disposed of their carcasses?
Those drunkards and gluttons of so many generations?
Where have you drawn off all the foul liquid and meat?
I do not see any of it upon you to-day, or perhaps I am deceiv'd,
I will run a furrow with my plough, I will press my spade through the sod and turn it up underneath,
I am sure I shall expose some of the foul meat.

2

Behold this compost! behold it well!
Perhaps every mite has once form'd part of a sick person—yet behold!
The grass of spring covers the prairies,
The bean bursts noiselessly through the mould in the garden,
The delicate spear of the onion pierces upward,
The apple-buds cluster together on the apple-branches,
The resurrection of the wheat appears with pale visage out of its graves,
The tinge awakes over the willow-tree and the mulberry-tree,
The he-birds carol mornings and evenings while the she-birds sit on their nests,
The young of poultry break through the hatch'd eggs,
The new-born of animals appear, the calf is dropt from the cow, the colt from the mare,
Out of its little hill faithfully rise the potato's dark green leaves,
Out of its hill rises the yellow maize-stalk, the lilacs bloom in the dooryards,
The summer growth is innocent and disdainful above all those strata of sour dead.

What chemistry!
That the winds are really not infectious,
That this is no cheat, this transparent green-wash of the sea which is so amorous after me,
That it is safe to allow it to lick my naked body all over with its tongues,
That it will not endanger me with the fevers that have deposited themselves in it,
That all is clean forever and forever,
That the cool drink from the well tastes so good,
That blackberries are so flavorous and juicy,
That the fruits of the apple-orchard and the orange-orchard, that melons, grapes, peaches, plums, will
none of them poison me,
That when I recline on the grass I do not catch any disease,
Though probably every spear of grass rises out of what was once a catching disease.

Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless successions of diseas'd corpses,
It distills such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,
It renews with such unwitting looks its prodigal, annual, sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings from them at last.
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Cred air o bob deg a glywi, a thi a gei rywfaint bach o wir (hen ddihareb Gymraeg)
Believe one tenth of what you hear, and you will get some little truth (old Welsh proverb)
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby Primrose » Wed May 29, 2019 8:26 pm

How very thoughtfully expressed. I've never come across this poem before.

Actually when you think about it, it is really a miracle that so many millions of corpses have been interred in the earth around the world is some shape or form and yet the soil and the earth go on producing its crops and growth as normal.

Perhaps it's another debate about what happens to all the bugs, diseases and infections which people have died of and what happens when the earth absorbs them as part of the natural decaying process.

What a wide variety of topics we discuss on this forum !
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby Colin2016 » Wed May 29, 2019 8:43 pm

My compost rule says "Certain things should never be placed in your Bin"

First item is "Bones"..... Think there are a few of those in me.

Also "soiled tissues" ...Could be another one as I am always getting told off for putting my cloths in for a wash without emptying my pockets. Lol
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby Primrose » Thu May 30, 2019 9:37 am

Colin. Kleenex tissues are a total nightmare when forgotten in pockets and then put in the washing machine as they disintegrate I to thousands of little white specs all over the rest of the laundry which is impossible. I,ve abandoned them completely and use sheets of kitchen towel instead. They don,t behave in the same way and any sheets accidentally left in pockets stay intact or in the little balls in which they've been hand crumpled.
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby Shallot Man » Thu May 30, 2019 10:27 am

My late father always said, we could chuck him on the dung- heap when he went. Though Mum wouldn't let us carry out his wishes. :wink:
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby Geoff » Thu May 30, 2019 12:10 pm

Kleenex tissues are a total nightmare when forgotten in pockets and then put in the washing machine


I've never understood paper tissues, proper cotton handkerchiefs every time.

What's new, we've been composting bodies for years trouble is they've only been feeding the odd yew tree, what a waste. Perhaps old graveyards should become allotments

the memories that others have of me are more important


Quite right, the only immortality is memories.
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alan refail
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby alan refail » Thu May 30, 2019 12:23 pm

Image
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Cred air o bob deg a glywi, a thi a gei rywfaint bach o wir (hen ddihareb Gymraeg)
Believe one tenth of what you hear, and you will get some little truth (old Welsh proverb)
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby robo » Thu May 30, 2019 3:56 pm

I think putting you in a timber box then burying it is just another way of composting
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Re: Composting & Washington state

Postby Westi » Thu May 30, 2019 7:48 pm

Except for the embalming process done now which I believe is full of solvents & the EU is trying to get them changed as a couple are well dodgy for the planet - I think formaldehyde is the main enemy.
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