Human Composting Can Actually Be More Affordable Than a Traditional Burial — Here's the Price Breakdown

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Oct. 31 2022, Published 4:58 p.m. ET

Recompose Human Composting Cost
Source: Recompose

As human composting becomes legal in more states across the U.S., more and more facilities are opening to offer the service as an alternative to traditional burial and cremation. With the process on the rise, you might be wondering, how much is human composting? Is this end-of-life process more expensive than a typical funeral?

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In the U.S., the eco-friendly burial method is only being run by a few companies so far — here’s a look into the prices you can expect to pay for a human composting burial.

How much is human composting? It can actually be more affordable than a traditional burial or cremation.

Like pretty much any service out there, a full service, human composting burial varies in cost depending on where you get it — but in general, prices range from $5,000 to $7,000.

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According to Bankrate, in 2021, the average cost of a traditional burial and viewing was $7,848; and for a cremation with a funeral, the average cost was $6,971 on average. So human composting is actually pretty fairly priced, considering the current funeral market.

Here’s a look into the cost breakdown of three major U.S.-based human composting companies.

Recompose, the original human composting company in the U.S., is the priciest option — but still comparable to traditional burial.

Source: Recompose

Also known as “natural organic reduction,” human composting is the process of essentially composting deceased human bodies by turning human remains into soil. The first company to offer this in the U.S. was Recompose, founded by Katrina Spade. In fact, Spade spearheaded the development of the natural organic reduction process in the country, and she also helped get the process legalized in Washington state.

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At Recompose, the total, all-inclusive price for a human composting burial is $7,000. This price includes support from the team, a death certificate filing, an online obituary, the actual human composting process, transportation of the body (only from nearby Washington counties), and packing up some of the soil for the deceased individual’s loved ones.

Currently, Recompose’s only facility is in Washington, and the company plans to open more facilities in Colorado in 2023 and California in 2027.

Return Home’s human composting services are a bit more affordable.

The company Return Home also offers human composting, and calls its process “terramation.”

Return Home is based in Auburn, Wash., but offers human composting services to people living (or dying) anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. A standard human composting burial with Return Home costs $4,950.

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This fee covers transportation of the body to the facility (the price could go up if the body is farther away), terramation of the body into soil, guidance from the team throughout the process, filing of the death certificate and all other needed paperwork, and returning soil to both the passe person’s family and to a local woodland property.

The funeral company Earth’s human composting services range in price.

The brand Earth refers to its human composting process as “soil transformation.” The company has two facilities, located in both Portland, Ore. and Auburn, Wash., and offers its services to those in the Pacific Northwest. Prices range from $5,000 and $6,000, but can depend on various factors.

It includes funeral director services, transportation of the body from the place of passing, filing all required paperwork, the actual soil transformation process, some of the soil returned to the family and friends of the loved one (in biodegradable containers), five trees planted by One Tree Planted using the soil, and access to the Earth Family Portal.

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