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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 31, 2023 09:00 AM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb and Rep. Mary Jo Daley
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing natural organic reduction as an option for human interment
Cremation is typically seen as a more environmentally friendly alternative to burial, but that is not necessarily the case. In order to cremate a human body by flame, as is the current method, heat in excess of 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit is necessary. Creating that amount of heat takes immense energy and emits as much carbon dioxide as a 1,000-mile trip by car.
In addition to expanding green options for Pennsylvanians such as the use of alkaline hydrolysis, also known as water-based cremation, this forthcoming legislation (formerly HB 2916) would allow for a process called natural organic reduction whereby the body is placed in a large vessel with straw, wood chips, and other natural materials. The body then decomposes naturally, with the process sped up by the presence of microorganisms. The process uses 1/8th the amount of energy of a more traditional cremation and creates soil that is perfectly safe for gardens, trees, and general land use.
It is long past time that Pennsylvanians have more affordable, accessible and environmentally-friendly choices for how they wish to be interred after death.

Introduced as HB919