Don′t fancy a regular old coffin for when you pass away? Maybe you think traditional funerals are a tad passÃ©? Well in this day and age there′s a huge range of choices when it comes to your body post-life, which includes the ones you already know about.
Possibly the most common type of funeral, burial is what it sounds like. The body is placed inside a container (usually a wooden coffin), and then interred in a grave which is usually about five foot deep. If necessary, the body may be embalmed beforehand. Here′s an estimate of what a funeral costs.
Also a very common choice, cremation is the use of fire and fire accelerants to reduce the body to its basic chemical compounds in the form of ashes. The ashes are then placed in an urn or similar container and, depending on what the family wants, dealt with in one of many ways. The ashes can be kept in the home of a family member, interred in a cemetery, stored in a church′s crypt, or scattered in a significant place.
Here′s where we begin to approach the less standard funeral options. Promession can be thought of as the opposite of cremation. It′s a process where the body is frozen to -18°C, and then submerged in liquid nitrogen. After the body is completely frozen, it′s then vibrated at a certain amplitude, which causes the now-brittle body to shatter into powder.
The powder is then placed in a vacuum, which allows the leftover ice to sublime, leaving only the completely dry powder. The powder goes through a handful of processes to remove any non-human elements, and is disinfected. The powder is placed within a coffin made of corn starch, and the coffin is then placed in a shallow grave with a plant, bush, or tree planted over the spot of the grave. Over the course of 6-12 months, the coffin and contents turn into compost, and this compost feeds the plant growing above it.
Organic burial pod/Bios Urn
Both of these forms of funeral have a similar end-goal to promession; the remains are planted with a plant seed or sapling, and as they decompose they feed the tree. The organic burial pod is an egg-shaped capsule made of starch plastic, which is then buried. A tree or plant is then buried on top.
The Bios Urn is a similar concept, however it takes the ashes from the cremation process and places them inside a biodegradable urn made of coconut shell, compacted peat, and cellulose. A seed is planted inside the top capsule, and once the seed has grown roots, it grows down into the bottom capsule and uses the ashes for further growth.
Similar to the idea of spreading ashes at sea, it′s entirely possible (albeit very expensive) to have your ashes placed into a small tube and blasted into space.
There are many things that the human body can be turned into after dying; many people know that the carbon in human remains can be made into diamonds, but did you know that same carbon can be used to create… you guessed it; pencils! The average human body, when cremated, produces enough ash to create a set of 240 pencils. Fireworks and paintings can also be made using a person′s ashes, leaving the spouse or family with something more personal to remember the deceased by (in the case of the painting that is).
While none of these options are particularly cheap, if you find yourself bored by the idea of a standard burial or cremation it might be worth looking into a few of these to see what you can do with yourself after death.