I don’t mean the whole of you, but the pieces and parts we shed periodically as part of living life. My hair and nail trimmings regularly go to the compost. Urinating on a compost (easier for men) is a great boost for a pile in need of a bit of nitrogen. A facial tissue used to stop a bloody nose? Sure, as long as the tissue doesn’t have any of those offensive antibacterial additives.
A general rule of thumb is that all things previously alive (plant, animal, fungi) can be composted. Following that rule, excluding pacemakers, dental fillings and the like, all the parts of us will rot.
We might not be pure enough for the compost though. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals analyzed urine and blood from a sample of US citizens. Among their many findings, they report widespread exposure to some industrial chemicals.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs) are fire retardants that accumulate in fat tissue. One type, BDE-47, was found in the blood of nearly all study participants. This is why my kids sleep on wool-wrapped organic cotton mattresses (wool is naturally flame resistant).
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a component of epoxy resins and plastic (including food containers) with potential reproductive toxicity. CDC found BPA in more than 90% of urine samples. This is why I drink from a stainless steel water bottle.
Polytetrafluoroethylene, used to create non-stick coatings on cookware, was found in most study participants. This is why I invest so much time cleaning egg off stainless steel cookware.
Call me a purist, but I would never knowingly put anything containing these industrial chemicals in a compost that will be used for food production. The irony is here is that if I am similar to the study participants as a whole, then I really don’t meet my own standards. Hmmm, so where to I put those nail clippings after all?