Space & Innovation

RIP: Recycle in Peace

Want to plant a tree in the afterlife? A biodegradable urn that doubles as a seed-starter kit makes it easy to take that green thumb with you to the grave.

The Bios biodegradable urn changes the Biblical paraphrase from, "ashes to ashes; dust to dust," to "ashes to fertilizer, dust to soil."

The Bios urn combines a biodegradable mortuary urn containing coconut fiber, compacted peat and cellulose along with a tree seed. As the tree sprouts, it draws some of it's nutrients from the ashes of the deceased.

Just about any type of seed or seedling can be used, though plants that like acidic soil might find that the ashes raise the pH of the soil too much for comfort.

The urn is a collaborative creation by design artists Martin Azua and Gerard Moline, and is sold by Limbo Disseny, an innovative funerary items company.

"I would like to be buried in an Bios urn in a forest in the Basque country," said Azua in response to an email from Discovery News.

The artists also have a line of Bios urns for pets and animals. Snowflake, also known as Copito de Nieve, an albino gorilla that lived most of his life at the Barcelona Zoo, was buried in an a Bios urn after his death in 2003, said Azua.

Ashes, including those from cremated remains, are a good sources of phosphorus for plants. So the final act of the ecologically minded could be to fertilize a tree.

IMAGE 1: The Bios urn with an example of a planting (Creative Commons).

IMAGE 2: Seed being planted in the Bios urn (Creative Commons).

IMAGE 3: Snowflake the albino gorilla i the Barcelona zoo, 2003 (Wikimedia Commons).