Traditional burials are fading in popularity, falling to the wayside in favor of more alternative trends.
From diamonds made from cremated remains to eco-friendly interments, the $20 billion funeral industry is being reshaped, creating opportunities for the entrepreneurially minded.
With death becoming less of a taboo subject, here are some less traditional ways to think about having done to your body for the afterlife:
-- Being made into diamonds. Several services offer to use the carbon from your body to create a wearable diamond. The service generally starts at a few thousand dollars, and can range into the tens of thousands. One company head previously told NPR that it takes about a pound of ashes to make a single diamond.
-- Get folded into a manmade reef. Off the coast of Florida, a manmade reef serves as an underwater mausoleum. Located about three miles off the Miami coast, cremated remains are fused with the materials used to build the Neptune Memorial Reef, and are marked by a memorial plaque. Many who choose this option generally “celebrate a love of the sea” and want to “help counter reef destruction by contributing” to a new reef, according to the company.
-- Send your remains into space. For those with a love of outer space, consider taking the extraterrestrial route. Starting at $4,995, at least one service offers to fly remains either into Earth’s orbit, to the moon, or into deep space. (If you have other penultimate plans, and less money, there are also options to have ashes take a joyride in space before returning back to the planet).
-- Wearing a suit of mushrooms. In Woburn, a carpenter with a degenerative brain condition is set to be buried in a suit embedded with mushrooms, which will neutralize the toxins in his body as it decomposes into the earth. Coeio, based in Brooklyn and founded by MIT graduate Jae Rhim Lee, offers such suits — for both people and pets. The suit for humans costs $1,500; a casket liner is $750, according to the Coeio website.
-- Turn your corpse into compost. In Seattle, plans are underway for a facility to turn corpses into compost; in Italy, a pair of designers is working on a biodegradable burial seed pod that will allow a person’s decaying body to provide nutrients for a tree planted on top of it.