Urna Bios is part of a wave of businesses sprouting up to offer sustainable options for burial and cremation, producing a biodegradable urn that will break down and turn your loved one's ashes into a tree.
The team at Barcelona-based Urna Bios has a developed a clever business idea that, to put it bluntly, makes a living from the dead. Not only is their model friendly to the environment but it also helps memorialise the passing of loved ones in a lovely way. The Bios Urn is a funerary urn made from biodegradable materials, mostly a coconut shell with peat and cellulose that breaks down once the ashes are inside. The urn contains a pine seed, which can be replaced with another type of seedling depending on the buyer's preference. The ashes are stored in the lower compartment and the upper compartment holds soil to facilitate growing. Eventually, both the container and ashes become part of the subsoil, helping the seed to germinate into a plant or tree later.
What better memorial than a tree? The concept is rather genius in its creative simplicity and helps tackle the under-reported but pressing issue of how many raw materials are used per year for burials. In North America alone, 9.1 million metres of wood is cut down every year to make caskets.
In religions like Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism, it is common practice to cremate bodies. Lately in a few countries, a more modern cremation process has taken over the traditional open-air cremation, which leaves behind the ash from the bones after the burning of the body. The environmental impact of cremation is less than that of burials but it does nonethless have an effect, with the process releasing dioxin, hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Urna Bios is part of a crop of entrepreneurs that have recently come to life (pardon the pun) as part of a growing movement towards providing greener gateways to the afterlife. The US-based firm, Green Burials, offers environmentally-friendly, biodegradable caskets and burial options; designer Pia Interlandi creates green garments to bury loved ones in; while the Swedish town of Helsingborg and the British town of Durham have found a way to recycle the energy used during cremation to power residents' homes.
Priced at 75.00 EUR, the Bios Urn promises to turn cremation and ash burial into regeneration and return one back to life, so to speak, in the form of a tree. The product designer Gerard Moliné of Bios Urn hopes to convert cemeteries consisting of cement and stones into beautiful forests.
Find out more about the company here.