Funeral customs are quickly changing in the developed world, as expensive traditional services are becoming less common, and cheaper options like cremations are becoming more popular. Younger generations are also less likely to have long and drawn out church services, and are often uncomfortable with open casket viewings. These are among the many reasons that short memorial services followed by cremations are starting to become a normal thing, and the industry is being faced to change with the times.
In addition to cremations, there are some innovative new ideas that are proposing different options for us to lay our loved ones to rest. One company called Capsula Mundi has devised an interesting new burial method that would allow a person's deceased body to be used as a seed for a tree. The idea was devised and implemented by Italian designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel, who sought out to develop sustainable burial methods that are a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the traditional headstones or mausoleum chapels.
Capsula Mundi has designed specially made egg-shaped pods that will act as a seed, and the person's body will actually fit inside of the pod. Once the body is in the burial pod, in the fetal position, the pod will then be placed in the ground and a tree will be planted over top of it. The burial pod is entirely biodegradable and is made from a starch plastic, according to the designers.
The company says that the biodegradable shell and the person inside, will eventually decompose and transform into nutrients, which will then be absorbed by the tree.
This idea is currently just in the prototype phase and is not a service that is officially for sale on the market just yet. There are still some final design and regulation obstacles that the company must overcome. Italy, where the company is based, has some very strict burial laws which have presented somewhat of a challenge for the designers.
However, Capsula Mundi is already in the funeral business, and currently offering a biodegradable urn which works in a very similar way to the proposed tree pod, only in that case, the ashes are contained in the pod. Regulatory approval for the ash pod was much easier to acquire for the company, considering that the matter of the human body is handled by the crematory, while accepting approval to place human beings in the ground in this manner has proven to be more difficult.
The company has suggested that if this idea were to become widely accepted in the future, graveyards could become vibrant forest areas filled with animal life, instead of gloomy fields filled with tombstones as we have today.
What do you think of the burial pod idea? Is this a positive evolution of tradition and a welcome change to the funeral industry? Would you be willing to have your burial in one of these things?
Photos courtesy of Capsula Mundi