Eco-Friendly Afterlife

Got any plans for your afterlife? Most people go the route of embalmment and coffin or cremation. You could also donate your body to science. You could launch your body off into space.

Traditional burial is no longer typical. The afterlife now offers myriad options for what to do when you move on from this mortal toil, and many of them are eco-friendly, returning the body to nature’s cycle of life and death or by generating a creative and nature-friendly memento to give to loved ones.

Become a Memorial Gem

Cremation takes a new form, as your ashes are compressed into a carbon-matter “memorial diamond,” or a LifeGem. These gems in many different colors for you to choose from and are placed into a setting.

Memorial gems keep a bit of you close to a loved one’s heart as a necklace or ring and are wonderful heirlooms to make it feel like a loved one is being watched over by the one who’s passed.

Be a Part of the Eternal Reef

If you keep up with science and environmental news or have ever been deep sea diving, you’ll have noticed the deterioration of the ocean’s reefs.

In the eighties, two college roommates who saw the damage close up decided to do something about it and formed Eternal Reefs. They partnered with the Reef Ball Foundation and Reef Innovations, which create Reef Balls that act as urns to store your ashes.

An Eternal Reef is a type of concrete casted from environmentally safe materials. The reef is legally placed in an area where recreational diving and fishing takes place, but it also offers a home for sea life that would normally dwell in naturally formed reefs.

As ash scattering and urns are replaced by Reef Balls cast at the Eternal Reef, the concrete reef will continue on as a living legacy aiding the environment. Over 1800 reefs are currently resting off the coasts of New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Texas.

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Burial Pods Sprout Into Trees

Be one with a tree. You get to choose what kind of tree replaces your tombstone, from oak to sugar maple. Climate, latitude and type of soil determine the tree choices.

Raoul Bretzel and Anna Citelli, Italian designers who started the Capsula Mundi project, wanted to create bigger cemeteries filled with trees instead of tombstones and environmentally damaging materials. The burial pods bypass the need to source questionably harmful materials to construct a coffin and are better for the environment.

Their biodegradable burial pods contain the seed of a specific tree, and this capsule converts the remains into nutrients for the tree. The trees create a new wildlife habitat that would be naturally protected and add fresh air to the surrounding environment.

Other seed to tree burial pod services are sprouting up, such as Bios Urna and Poetree Burial Planner. Some services use ashes in a biodegradable cork pot, while others allow human remains