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Nevada Becomes the Seventh State to Legalize Human Composting

Nevada has become the seventh state to legalize composting human remains, proving it’s a state that believes in disposition freedom. Learn more here.
Nevada is the Latest State to Legalize Human Composting
Nevada is the Latest State to Legalize Human Composting

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Ever since 2019 when Washington State legalized natural organic reduction (NOR), also known as human composting, there has been a lot of interest in this new type of disposition. At first people were understandably skeptical and not sure what to think about the idea of turning a body into soil. But as people learned more about the extremely eco-friendly form of disposition the interest in such a service increased. 

As with any form of disposition, natural organic reduction had to be approved by lawmakers on a state-by-state basis. While the process has proven to be safe, efficient and environmentally friendly, we’re still a long way off from human composting being legal across the country. However, Nevada’s choice to legalize natural organic reduction gets us one step closer. 

Why Nevada Legalized Human Composting

For many years, Nevada has been the state with the highest cremation rate. Currently, 81.9% of people in Nevada are cremated. The move away from burial in Nevada has happened for a few reasons. 

Transient Population

A unique aspect of Nevada is it’s a state where many of the residents were born and raised somewhere else. Many people choose to retire in Nevada to live out their golden years. Often the surviving family members live out-of-state, which means cremation is the most logical choice logistically for many Nevada residents. 


Practicality has a lot to do with the cremation rate in Nevada in general. More and more people are leaning away from choosing disposition based on religious beliefs in lieu of choosing the most practical option that’s usually also the more affordable option as well. 

Environmental Concerns

Like other states that have legalized NOR, Nevada residents are more conscious of the environmental impact of funeral services than they were in the past. The negative impact concerns them. Human composting is considered the greenest death care choice that’s available today, and that has led to a lot of support for the service in Nevada. Instead of generating pollution and using resources, natural organic reduction produces something of value that helps the environment. And that’s important to a lot of people who want their surviving family members to live well after they are gone. 

Better Understanding of What Human Composting Involves

Another factor is better knowledge of what human composting is all about. At first, many people mistakenly believed NOR was tantamount to composting food. With time, people have learned the NOR process is extremely respectful and the body is handled with care. The NOR vessels are much more akin to the drawers in a morgue and nothing like a composting pile. Acceptance of natural organic reduction has grown as awareness increases. While some people wouldn’t choose human composting for themselves, they are open to letting others have that option. 

Given these factors it’s only natural that Nevada would be among the first states to legalize human composting. Natural organic reduction is very practical in the sense that the process produces one cubic yard of nutrient rich soil. That ends up being about 200 pounds of soil that can be used by the family or donated to a conservation organization to help the environment. 

What Legalization Means for Human Composting in Nevada

Nevada’s choice to legalize human composting is just the latest example of how dramatic shifts are happening in the death care industry. It started with an increase in cremation rates that made traditional burial the less common option. Then water cremation (alkaline hydrolysis) was made available in many states, including Nevada, giving millions of people a more eco-friendly option. 

But what comes next? When Assembly Members Max Carter, Selena La Rue Hatch, Cameron Miller, Shondra Summers-Armstrong and Howard Watts sponsored Assembly Bill 289 the goal was to get it written into law. However, making human composting legal is just the first step. Case in point – there are some states that have legalized water cremation, yet there’s no framework for regulating the service and there are no providers within the state. Clearly, steps have to be taken beyond legalization for natural organic reduction to be easily accessible to state residents. 

In Nevada, human composting won’t be officially allowed until January 1, 2024 even though Bill 289 was signed into law by Governor Lombardo on May 30, 2023. The bill actually allowed for human composting by expanding the definition of cremation to include the “accelerated conversion of human remains to soil through the natural reduction of human remains.”

That suggests the state of Nevada will regulate natural organic reduction in a way that’s very similar to how forms of cremation are regulated. In particular, the state will likely follow a path that was used when water cremation was legalized and also expanded what’s considered to be cremation. 

Once all of the regulations are laid out, there’s still the business of creating facilities for natural organic reduction. Building the facilities and human composting vessels are the most energy-intensive parts of the NOR process, and it can take time. It helps that there are established NOR providers in other states that can franchise in Nevada using the processes and procedures that have already helped them offer the service in other states. 

Another advantage is how business-friendly Nevada is as a state. It consistently ranks as one of the top 10 most business-friendly states since there’s no personal, corporate or franchise income tax. That will make it much more financially feasible for established NOR providers to set up facilities in the Silver State. 

Want to know how you can arrange natural organic reduction services in Texas? Cremation.Green is one of the few funeral homes that can help Texans get the eco-friendly disposition they want. Give us a call, text or email any hour of the day to discuss your needs with one of our team members.

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Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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