As we wait for the final permitting of our PET400, so that Radiant Heart may finally begin offering eco-friendly pet water cremation along with traditional flame cremation, it may seem very strange to devote a blog to yet a third option – composting. However, I’ve been reflecting on the last year of planning, and that year included learning about Rooted Pet.
Early in 2018, knowing that at some time in the future we would offer both flame cremation and eco-friendly water cremation, my dear friend Daniel Pry said, “you need to offer composting as well.” Composting of a body is also referred to as soil cremation or recomposting. Then, another friend sent me a text about RootedPet.com. It turns out that two very smart guys had already figured out how to individually compost a pet’s body using a high-tech industrial process.
Greg Schoenbachler and Paul Tschetter began developing Rooted Pet in 2015. They hired engineers (from industrial composting) to create the computer programs. They began offering their services in 2017.
Imagine a huge green covered bin that can hold about a yard of wood chips. At the center top of the lid there is a thermocouple – a thermometer that stretches down into the container. Coming up from the bottom of the bin are air tubes that go through the material to be composted. Using a computer the air circulation is regulated based on the temperature of the material so that it never gets too hot (which would kill beneficial bacteria).
In her article on thurstontalk.com, Mary Ellen Psaltis explains the process succinctly:
“Rooted Pet has designed and produced self-contained vessels where temperature, aeration, moisture and heat are closely monitored and controlled. The remains of your pet are gently and carefully placed within a pod that is primarily filled with organic matter. The containers hold over 700 pounds of material like grass and yard waste.
“Over the next eight weeks the pod contents go through a specified series of temperature changes. The initial thermophilic stage maintains temperatures at 55 degrees centigrade. That’s hot, about 131 degrees Fahrenheit. Then temperatures are intentionally reduced to allow different microbes to flourish. The third stage, which is around 40 degrees centigrade, (that’s still over 100 degrees Fahrenheit) provides time for the media to cure and cool. Schoenbachler handles the operations and explains the science and the sense with enthusiasm. ‘It’s way different than back yard composting,’ he said.
‘The process is all about balancing the carbon and nitrogen while managing the moisture and maximizing the oxygen. ‘We are controlling everything,’ explained Tschetter. The pods remain stationary and the contents are not churned. Air and moisture are controlled through the bottom and top of the containers. Heat is uniform throughout the pod. ‘The temperature dictates the purity of the sterilization of the product,’ he added. The final soil is totally safe for use in your garden or other outdoor project.”
The end result of Rooted Pet’s process is a lovely, organic and safe soil.
Pet parents can send their pet’s body to Rooted Pet for composting, and in return they will receive the resulting compost.
Pet parents can also donate a pet’s already cremated remains to Rooted Pet. The result of flame or water cremation is simply bone which must be composted to be beneficial to vegetation. The compost created from donated cremated remains is used in urban forestry projects. You can also elect to have a tree planted in your pet’s honor, and Rooted Pet will send you a certificate once the tree is planted.
(Radiant Heart offers complimentary shipping of donated cremated remains to Rooted Pet.)
To see all of Rooted Pet’s options please visit https://www.rootedpet.com/.
Greg & Paul have also consulted with Katrina Spade – the brain child of The Urban Death Project. The Urban Death Project’s original goal was to design and build a recomposition center for human bodies. The Death Project has evolved into a corporation called Recompose (https://www.recompose.life).
The Urban Death Project was something that I found out about in early 2017, and it excited me. I was fascinated with the idea of a cremation that would be easier on the environment and our natural resources than flame cremation. It was something I wanted to offer for pets. Two years later Radiant Heart is following through with eco-friendly water cremation.
Rooted Pet has the composting option covered.
“Death is momentous, miraculous, and mysterious.
The cycles of nature help us grieve and heal.
Our bodies are full of life-giving potential.”