Seth Viddal builds 'vessels' that speed decomposition of human remains

In a suburban Denver warehouse tucked between an auto repair shop and a computer recycling business, Seth Viddal is dealing with life and death. He and one of his employees have built a “vessel” they hope will usher in a more environmentally friendly era of mortuary science that includes the natural organic reduction of human remains, also known as body composting, the Associated Press reports.

“It’s a natural process where the body is returned to an elemental level over a short period of time,” said Viddal, who likened the practice to backyard composting of food scraps and yard waste. “This is the same process but done with a human body inside of a vessel, and in our case, in a controlled environment.”

On Sept. 7, Colorado became the second state after Washington to allow human body composting. Oregon will allow the practice beginning next July. In Washington, the three businesses licensed to compost human remains have transformed at least 85 bodies since the law took effect in May 2020, and more than 900 people have signed up for the service as natural funerals become more popular.

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