Washington State University eyes composting human remains

PULLMAN, Wash.  — Washington State University wants to start a pilot program to test methods of decomposing human bodies that could offer an alternative to burial or cremation.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports that the school is acquiring necessary approvals to test equipment at one of its campus facilities as part of the Urban Death Project.

That's a nonprofit group seeking what it calls an ecological alternative to disposing of dead bodies by transforming them into soil to be used to nourish trees, flowers and memorial gardens.

The school's compost facility in Pullman already converts animal carcasses into compost.

State officials say emissions from composting human remains aren't expected to be much different.

The Urban Death Project says it's not currently enrolling participants into the pilot program due to overwhelming interest.