Best Environmentally Sustainable Cremation

Natural Organic Reduction is Now a Legal Disposition Option in New York

Natural Organic Reduction is Now a Legal Disposition Option in New York
New York City aerial view with skyscrapers, sunlight and mist
New York has become the 6th state to legalize natural organic reduction. Read about the new NY NOR regulations and what it means for other states.

Share This Post

New Yorkers can now choose an alternative, environmentally-friendly form of disposition that is inaccessible to many Americans. The governor of New York just signed a bill legalizing Natural Organic Reduction becoming the sixth state to do so since 2019. Natural organic reduction, which is also called terramation, is a form of disposition that involves placing a body in a semi-open container that’s filled with organic matter and microbes that will facilitate decomposition. The final result after about a month is a nutrient-rich soil.

What is Natural Organic Reduction

It’s essentially an accelerated version of what naturally occurs over many years in a casket, but instead of being enclosed the body is exposed to earth.

Natural organic reduction is a very green process that’s in many ways closer to how bodies were buried hundreds of years ago. More people, including state representatives, are beginning to see that while they may not choose terramation for themselves, it’s important that safe, green forms of disposition are an option. 

New York Regulations for Terramation

Assembly Bill A382 establishes that natural organic reduction is legal across the state. It was a universal decision given that the bill passed both the state Assembly and the state Senate. One unique consideration for New York legislators is the fact that burial space is limited in the state. Alternative forms of disposition help ease the burden by allowing people to look beyond burial.

But approving natural organic reduction is just the first step in the legalization process. Regulations also have to be created and put into place. 

New York lawmakers are taking careful measures to lay out the laws that will regulate natural organic reduction as the funeral industry evolves as a whole. To begin with, natural organic reduction is only going to be performed at certified facilities. There are also safety regulations that all facilities must adhere to at all times. 

With each state that legalizes natural organic reduction and alkaline hydrolysis, it’s a step toward ensuring all Americans have access to green disposition alternatives. New York is just one more example that the time has come for the funeral industry to expand its services and acknowledge that changes need to be made to mitigate environmental damage.

Other States That Have Legalized Natural Organic Reduction

So far five other states have given their residents the full disposition freedom by making all options available. Along with New York, these states offer the most disposition options

Washington

Washington State is where natural organic reduction was first legalized. In 2019 the state made history when it put a national spotlight on the new disposition process.

Colorado

Colorado was the next state to approve natural organic reduction in 2021. Colorado is also the first state to allow for open-air cremation.

Oregon

Later that year Oregon also passed a law legalizing the use of natural organic reduction for disposition. 

California

In 2022 California became the fourth state to approve natural organic reduction. The state has become a leader on environmental protection and has some of the most ambitious carbon reduction goals in the country. 

Vermont

Vermont was the fifth state to allow natural organic reduction. It was also among the first states to legalize alkaline hydrolysis. 

These states are just the first to legalize natural organic reduction, and they most certainly aren’t going to be the last. Soon Texas lawmakers could be voting on a similar bill that would approve terramation and water cremation, another gentle form of disposition that’s extremely eco-friendly.


If you have questions about alternative types of disposition, ask the experts at Green Cremation Texas. We’re the first carbon-neutral crematorium in Texas and continue to innovate in the industry as we advocate for equal disposition options.

More To Explore