Help Bring Human Composting to Massachusetts

The Massachusetts legislature is considering adding human composting and alkaline hydrolysis to the state’s list of legal death care options. To help support this effort, both Massachusetts residents and non-residents are welcome to send in a letter of support using the directions below.

Support letter deadline: Saturday, January 15 at midnight ET 

 How to Submit Your Support

  1. Copy/paste the sample letter below into a new email message. Edit the bracketed sections to add your name, location, and contact info.

We are seeking letters from:

    • Individuals supporting NOR and Alkaline Hydrolysis
    • Business leaders or owners
    • Leaders or members of faith communities 
    • Leaders or members of environmental advocacy groups 

The letter below was drafted by legislative staff to help Representative Lewis, Representative Higgins,  and the bill’s co-sponsors demonstrate how many Massachusetts residents support this bill and why.

  1. Add a brief explanation of why this option is meaningful to you, your business, or your faith community (optional).
  2. Send your edited email by Saturday, January 15.

Any questions about submitting testimony can be directed to [email protected]

Letter Template

Send to: [email protected] and [email protected]

Subject line: Support H.4036 “An act relative to environmentally-friendly burial alternatives”

Sample email text: 

[Insert month, day]

Dear Chair Decker and Chair Comerford,

[Name of organization or individual] is pleased to offer support for H.4036, “An Act relative to environmentally-friendly burial alternatives.” This legislation would allow a natural disposition of remains by natural organic reduction (NOR) and alkaline hydrolysis in Massachusetts.

Right now, the only allowable burial method or for the disposition of human remains is traditional burial and cremation. H.4036 simply gives families another burial option when choosing what to do with their loved one’s remains.

Cremation accounts for an estimated 40% of after-death choices within Massachusetts but requires fossil fuels and emits CO2 into the atmosphere, polluting our air and contributing to climate change. Conventional burials with a casket leach chemicals into the ground from the treated casket wood and embalming chemicals. One metric ton of carbon is prevented from being emitted into the atmosphere for every individual who chooses NOR over conventional burial or cremation.

Burial space across the United States is becoming limited, especially in more urban areas. This leads to the increased cost of death-care options for individuals and their families. As these cemeteries begin to fill up and land is less available for burial plots, the Commonwealth’s residents are looking for more sustainable death care practices. H.4036 would create additional options for death care practice that is more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

For the above reasons, [I/we] support this critical legislation and ask that it be reported favorably from the committee. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at [insert phone number] or [insert email].

Sincerely,

[Name]

[Position in organization, if applicable]

[City or district]

[Email or phone number]

Send to: [email protected] and [email protected] by Saturday, January 15, 2022

Additional Background

Recompose is partnering with Representative Jack Patrick Lewis and Representative Natalie Higgins to support H.4036 and expand ecological death care options.

  • You can read the bill and follow Massachusetts’s progress on the Massachusetts Legislatures Site
  • H.4036 had a hearing on 11/15/2021 but is still collecting supportive written testimony
  • If you are not a Massachusetts resident, you can still send in a letter of support. In addition to letters from constituents, the number of letters received is also important for the committee

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Land Acknowledgement

Recompose acknowledges we make our lives and livelihoods on the lands of the Coast Salish People, specifically the Duwamish People. We honor with gratitude the Duwamish People past and present, the land itself, and the Duwamish Tribe.

Colonization is an active, persistent process. Indigenous communities continue to be resilient in protecting their ecological and cultural lifeways and deathways despite ongoing oppression. Recompose respects, shares, and supports this commitment to climate healing and environmental justice. Join Recompose in contributing to Real Rent Duwamish.