The act authorizes human remains to be converted to soil using a container that accelerates the process of biological decomposition, also known as "natural reduction". Natural reduction is added to the statutes that regulate funeral establishments, and this addition will result in the regulation of the natural reduction process. But the definitions of "cremation" and "mortuary science practitioner" are amended so that a practitioner of natural reduction is not regulated as a cremationist or mortuary science practitioner.
The act allows the disposal of abandoned naturally reduced remains if the remains are not claimed within 180 days after natural reduction.
The act prohibits the following when done in the course of business:
- Selling or offering to sell the soil;
- Commingling the soil of more than one person without the consent of the person or persons with the right of final disposition unless the soil is abandoned;
- Commingling the human remains of more than one person without the consent of the person or persons with the right of final disposition within the container wherein natural reduction produces soil; or
- Using the soil to grow food for human consumption.
Colorado law has various provisions that deal with burial, cremation, interment, and entombment. In connection with authorizing natural reduction, the act replaces these terms with the phrase "final disposition", which term is defined to include natural reduction. The act updates the following types of provisions to reflect the option to use natural reduction:
- Life insurance statutes;
- Preneed funeral insurance contracts;
- The "Mortuary Science Code";
- Funeral picketing statutes;
- Litigation damages;
- The "Colorado Probate Code";
- The "Disposition of Last Remains Act";
- The "Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act";
- Missing person reports for unidentified human remains;
- Public peace and order statutes;
- Vital statistics statutes;
- The "Colorado Medical Assistance Act";
- The "Colorado Human Services Code";
- The "Colorado Public Assistance Act"; and
- Firefighter pension plans.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)