California Legalizes Human Composting for ‘Green’ Burial Alternative

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

California Legalizes Human Composting for ‘Green’ Burial Alternative
Courtesy of Recompose

By 2027, citizens of California will be able to choose to have their body placed in a steel container along with wood chips, alfalfa and straw until their remains are turned into soil.

Assembly Bill 351 signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week, will create a state regulatory process for natural organic reduction better known as human composting—a burial method in which human remains naturally decompose over a 30-to-45-day period.

“This idea has been in my head for at least a dozen years,” Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) tells dot.LA.

She says she first introduced the bill in 2019, which is the same year Washington made human composting legal. Now three years later, the bill will finally take effect in California.

“Some of my family members like this idea while some of the family members don't like the idea,” Garcia says. “But what I think my family is comfortable with, is that it created a new option for Californians.”

Assemblymember Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens.

Courtesy of Cristina Garcia

California is the fifth state to legalize human composting as a death care option with Massachusetts and New York looking to be next in line.

But one of the main reasons why this alternative method has not been widely accepted is due to the resistance of the Catholic Church–the only opponent listed to AB 351. Statements from various Catholic organizations including the New York Catholic Conference and Washington State Catholic Conference deemed the method of turning human remains into soil as inappropriate.

While many individuals from the Catholic community resist this method, Garcia said a traditional burial that often includes a casket leads to lots of chemicals that often leach into our soil and water in addition to the gasses that get emitted into the air that continue to contribute to climate change.

Climate is usually not on the top of people’s minds when burying a loved one. Cost, on the other hand, can be. In the United States, the average cost of a traditional funeral is around $7,000. But in Los Angeles, the average cost is closer to $9,000. That sometimes includes a casket (which can range from $1,200 to $10,000), but not a burial plot–with real estate starting at $3,000 in Los Angeles–or headstone (the average will set you back another grand.) With those kind of costs, it’s understandable why cremation has gained in popularity as a burial alternative.

Composting is not only better for the environment, but has the potential to save thousands on expenses. Funeral director Shawn LaValleur-Adame founded DIY Dying in 2018 to offer eco-friendly dispositions to her clients. Her do-it-yourself end of life and after-death care services includes natural organic reduction (NOR) or human composting, water cremation, fire cremation, natural green burial and full body sea burial. The hidden cost of composting, LaValleur-Adame says, has been the travel expenses.

Up until now, DIY has partnered with Herland Forest in Washington to transport the bodies thousands of miles that were then shipped back as compost. If the family chooses not to keep the soil, they have the option for their loved one’s compost to be buried at Herland Forest. These costs quickly add up, thanks to special regulations about transporting remains: LaValleur-Adame spends approximately $2,500 on transporting a body to Washington state, which comprises over half of DIY Dying’s $5,500 price tag for the service.

With the passage of this new bill, LavValleur-Adame says “I hope (funeral homes) they plan on adopting the new method.”

She adds, “it's taken a while to get approved because it's a new type of service and some people are having a hard time wrapping their head around the idea.”

One of the earliest adopters of human composting is Seattle-based Recompose, the first full service funeral home that offered these services to the public ever since Washington became the first state to legalize human composting as a death care option in 2019.

Recompose founder Katrina Spade spent 10 years creating a community around the idea that has been on her mind while in graduate school–composting human remains.

Spade studied architecture and became curious about her own body and her options for death care. When she looked into her options, she says that neither cremation or bench burial was appealing to her which drew her to apply her design practices to create a new one. After a call from a friend who told her how farmers have been composting livestock for years, Spade says that was when the light bulb went off.

Today, she continues to work alongside Garcia and others like her to enact change and figure out what legislature and bills need to be written in order to make human composting legal everywhere.

With the passage of this new bill, Spade says that Recompose plans on opening a facility in California. While she’s yet to determine the location of this new facility, Spade says that expanding her operation was always part of the plan and is one of the reasons why she and her team have been working so hard to get the bill passed.

“The American funeral industry has been ripe for some change in newness for a long time and consumers are really excited to have more than one new choice out there,” says Spade. “So I think it's really possible that this human composting option will spread far and wide.”

To that end, LaValleur-Adame says she looks forward to working with a local group, similar to Herland Forest. Adding that, not only will the costs go down for the families, but the carbon footprint will be significantly smaller since the body would not be traveling as far.

As for Recompose, the company touts that their process is "1/8 the energy of cremation", which saves an estimated metric ton of CO2 emissions per person over traditional methods according to BBC News.

“Getting more and more people to think green burial versus traditional burial is still an uphill battle,” LaValleur-Adame tells dot.LA, “got a lot of traditional sticklers in the funeral industry.”

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“Millions of Dollars Completely Wasted”: Without Neuromarketing, Tech Firms’ Ads Get Lost in the Noise

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Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

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‘Expand Past the Stage’: How These LA-based Ticketing Platforms are Using The Metaverse to Take On Ticketmaster

Andria Moore

Andria is the Social and Engagement Editor for dot.LA. She previously covered internet trends and pop culture for BuzzFeed, and has written for Insider, The Washington Post and the Motion Picture Association. She obtained her bachelor's in journalism from Auburn University and an M.S. in digital audience strategy from Arizona State University. In her free time, Andria can be found roaming LA's incredible food scene or lounging at the beach.

‘Expand Past the Stage’: How These LA-based Ticketing Platforms are Using The Metaverse to Take On Ticketmaster
Evan Xie

When Taylor Swift announced her ‘Eras’ tour back in November, all hell broke loose.

Hundreds of thousands of dedicated Swifties — many of whom were verified for the presale — were disappointed when Ticketmaster failed to secure them tickets, or even allow them to peruse ticketing options.

But the Taylor Swift fiasco is just one of the latest in a long line of complaints against the ticketing behemoth. Ticketmaster has dominated the event and concert space since its merger with Live Nation in 2010 with very few challengers — until now.

Adam Jones, founder and CEO of Token, a fan-first commerce platform for events, said he has the platform and the tech ready to take it on. With Token, Jones is creating a system where there are no queues. In other words, fans know immediately which events are sold out and where.

“We come in very fortunate to have a modern, scalable tech stack that's not going to have all these outages or things being down,” Jones said. “That's step one. The other thing is we’re being aggressively transparent about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. So with the Taylor Swift thing…you would know in real time if you actually have a chance of getting the tickets.”

Here’s how it works: Users register for Token’s app and then purchase tickets to either an in-person event, or an event in the metaverse through Animal Concerts. The purchased ticket automatically shows up in the form of a mintable NFT, which can then be used toward merchandise purchases, other ticketed events or, Adams’s hope for the future — external rewards like airline travel. The more active a user is on the site, the more valuable their NFT becomes.

Ticketmaster has dominated the music industry for so long because of its association with big name artists. To compete, Token is working on gaining access to their own slew of popular artists. They recently entered into a partnership with Animal Concerts, a live and non-live event experiences platform that houses artists like Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg and Robin Thicke.

“You'll see they do all the metaverse side of the house,” Jones said. “And we're going to be the [real-life] web3 sides of the house.”

In addition, Token prides itself on working with the artists selling on their platform to set up the best system for their fanbase, devoid of hefty prices and additional fees — something Ticketmaster users have often complained about. Jones believes where Ticketmaster fails, Token thrives. The app incentivizes users to share more data about their interests, venues and artists by operating on a kind of points system in the form of mintable NFTs.

“We can actually take the dataset and say there’s 100 million people in the globe that love Taylor Swift, so imagine she’s going on tour and we ask [the user], ‘Would you go to see her in Detroit?’ And imagine this place has 30,000 seats, but 100,000 people clicked ‘yes,’” he explained. “So you can actually inform the user before anything even happens, right? About what their options are and where to get it.”

Tixr, a Santa-Monica based ticketing app, was founded on the idea that modern ticketing platforms were “living in the legacy of the past.” They plan to attract users by offering them exclusive access to ticketed events that aren’t in Ticketmaster’s registry.

“It melts commerce that's beyond ticketing…to allow fans to experience and purchase things that don't necessarily have to do with tickets,” said Tixr CEO and Founder Robert Davari. “So merchandise, and experiences, and hospitality and stuff like that are all elegantly melded into this one, content driven interface.”

Tixr sells tickets to exclusive concerts like a Tyga performance at a night club in Arizona, general in-person festivals like ComplexCon, and partners with local vendors like The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to sell tickets to the races. Plus, Davari said it’s equipped to handle high-demand, so customers aren’t spending hours waiting in digital queues.

Like Token, Tixr has also found success with a rewards program — in the form of fan marketing.

“There's nothing more powerful in the core of any event, brand, any live entertainment, [than] the community behind it,” Davari said. “So we build technology to empower those fans and to reward them for bringing their friends and spreading the word.”

Basically, if a user gets a friend to purchase tickets to an event, then the original user gets rewarded in the form of discounts or upgrades.

Coupled with their platforms’ ability to handle high-demand events, both Jones and Davari believe their platforms have what it takes to take on Ticketmaster. Expansion into the metaverse, they think, will also help even the playing field.

“So imagine you can't go to Taylor Swift,” Jones said. “What if you could purchase an exclusive to actually go to that exact same show over the metaverse? An artist’s whole world can expand past the stage itself.”

With the way ticketing for events works now, obviously not everyone always gets the exact price, venue or date they want. There are “winners and losers.” Jones’s hope is that by expanding beyond in-person events, there can be more winners.

“If there’s 100,000 people who want to go to one show and there's 37,000 seats, 70,000 are out,” he said. “You can't fight that. But what we can do is start to give them other opportunities to do things in a different way and actually still participate.”

Jones and Davari both teased that their platforms have some exciting developments in the works, but for now both Token and Tixr are set on making their own space within the industry.

“We simply want to advance this industry and make it more efficient and more pleasurable for fans to buy,” Davari said. “That's it.”