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Where Aquamation and Human Composting May Be Legal Next

Which states are poised to legalize water cremation and natural organic reduction next? Check out seven states that are voting on it this year.
New Bills Could Legalize Human Composting and Aquamation
New Bills Could Legalize Human Composting and Aquamation

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The year 2024 is already shaping up to be big for eco-friendly funeral services. There are a number of states that are thinking about expanding the legal disposition options to include water cremation, also known as aquamation or alkaline hydrolysis. Natural organic reduction (NOR), sometimes referred to as human composting, is also up for consideration in a number of states. 

Both types of disposition have a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional burial and cremation. They also use far fewer resources, and in the case of natural organic reduction, it can actually create a byproduct that’s beneficial for the environment. 

The environmental benefits of water cremation and human composting is the primary reason more states are considering legalization. It’s a matter of both consumer demand for greener alternatives as well as minimizing the impact that’s being felt within the community. 

Here’s a look at the states that are currently considering legislation that would soon legalize aquamation or natural organic reduction. 

New Legislation to Legalize Water Cremation

Currently, water cremation is legal in 27 states, but three more could be added to the list in the coming months. The reasons for bringing forth bills that would legalize water cremation are varied, but one thing is for sure. More people want aquamation to at least be an option. 


Previously, it was believed that aquamation was already legal under Maryland’s disposition laws, but a ruling from the state Attorney General found it not to be a legal practice under the current laws. So legislators got to work creating a bill that would legalize and regulate water cremation. In February 2024 House Bill 1168 was introduced to correct the situation and is expected to pass through and get signed off by the governor.  


In Indiana, the draw for legalizing water cremation is giving state residents more disposition options. Clearly it’s a state where disposition freedom is valued. House Bill 1217 was written by Rep. Mark Genda, R-Frankfort. Rep. Genda is a retired funeral home owner who told his colleagues that his clients were asking about water cremation years ago. He also added that while the environmental benefits were great, from a professional standpoint he believes making all safe disposition options available to families is what’s most important. 

Opponents of the bill are trying to claim that Indiana just isn’t ready for water cremation. It’s a claim that Genda and many others outright reject. In fact, supporters of the bill point to the fact that for 15 years lawmakers have been trying to pass a bill that would legalize water cremation, and it’s well past time to do so. 

South Carolina

Right now North Carolina has legalized water cremation, and it’s the only option for people living next door in South Carolina. However, that could soon change. At the start of 2024 a bill (2023-2024 Bill 981) was introduced that would effectively amend South Carolina laws to allow for alkaline hydrolysis as a form of cremation.

New Legislation to Legalize Natural Organic Reduction

Even though natural organic reduction is a very new concept, it’s quickly catching on with states that prioritize protecting the environment. In just a few years, seven states have legalized human composting and by the end of the year three more states will likely offer the service. 


Delaware is set to become the eighth state to legalize natural organic reduction. House Bill 162 that allows for the process passed in the state Senate with a 14 to 7 vote in March. The legislators that voted down the bill were vocal in noting it was their own personal preferences that led to the no vote, not consideration for what the public wants or what’s best for the state’s communities. 

For H.B. 162 to actually get legalized, the governor John Carney still needs to sign the bill into law. 

Rhode Island

Rhode Island hasn’t yet approved aquamation, but lawmakers may soon vote to allow natural organic reduction – again. A bill to legalize NOR was brought to vote last year but didn’t make it through. 

New Jersey

New Jersey is another state that could have human composting before legal water cremation. After a bill stalled last year, two state legislators, Sen. Joseph Vitale and Assemblyman Herb Conaway Jr., are giving it another try. Their bill 3007 would allow funeral homes in New Jersey to establish natural organic reduction facilities. The last bill died off due to concerns over the wording that was used, which has been addressed in the latest legislation. The rewritten bill is already garnering support and there’s optimism this time it will pass. 

Massachusetts Looks to Legalize Human Composting and Water Cremation

There’s one state that’s going bold and attempting to legalize human composting and water cremation simultaneously. Last year Massachusetts had a bill making the rounds that would have legalized natural organic reduction. Unfortunately that fell through, but this year another bill is already on the docket, but this time legislators are going to vote whether or not to approve both new forms of disposition. The bill has been named the Environmentally-Friendly Alternatives Bill, so clearly impact is at top of mind.

Will Texas be among the next round of states to legalize water cremation and natural organic reduction? Cremation.Green specializes in all forms of environmentally friendly disposition, including water cremation and natural organic reduction. We’re working every day to make safe, eco-friendly funeral services available to all Texans. Currently, we can help families in Texas arrange funeral services that have a minimal impact on the environment while having a huge impact for the family. 

We’re available to talk on the phone, message over text or correspond via email 24 hours a day.

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Marlaena Gonzales

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