business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

I'm not a composter, and had to go to Wikipedia this morning just so I could be clear about exactly what composting is:

At its simplest level, composting requires gathering a mix of 'Greens' and 'Browns'. Greens are materials rich in nitrogen such as leaves, grass, and food scraps. Browns are more woody materials rich in carbon-like stalks, paper, and wood chips. The materials are wetted to break them down into humus, a process that occurs over a period of months.

The story that made me look up "composting" was in the New York Times, and it reported that "the Colorado State Legislature passed a bill on Tuesday that would allow composting of human remains in lieu of traditional processes like burial and cremation … If Gov. Jared Polis signs the bill into law, which he said he would, Colorado would become the second state to legalize human composting. Washington State did so in 2019, and legislators in Oregon, California and New York have proposed human composting legislation.

It seems to be a practice that has some level of bipartisan support:  liberals like it because of the environmental implications (one expert says that the practice saves "one metric ton of carbon dioxide for each body that is composted rather than cremated or buried traditionally"), while conservatives include "farmers or ranchers who really like the idea of being connected to the land that they were born and raised on.”

The good news for food companies is that probably don't have to worry about adding "grown in compost made from human remains" to the labels of the products they sell.  At least in Colorado, the Times writes, "it would be illegal to sell the soil produced from human compost or to use it to grow food for human consumption."

Until, of course, someone finds out that human compost is particularly fertile … and then, there will be a run on black market human compost that will almost certainly end up with a scene like the Gourmet Club's Komodo dragon dinner in The Freshman.

Now that'll be an Eye Opener.