Seeds Instead of Coffins?

An Italian firm, Capsula Mundi, wants to replace traditional caskets with organic burial pods. Creators, Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel, want to replace rows of cold tombstones with a forest of vibrant trees.

How Does it Work?

The capsule is an egg shaped casket made from biodegradable starch-plastic, where the deceased is placed in the fetal position inside. The capsule is then placed in the ground like a seed, and a tree is planted on top. As the tree’s roots embrace the egg, the body provides nutrients for the tree to grow.

“The tree can chosen when the person is alive, relatives and friends look after it after their loved one dies.” -Anna & Raoul

capsule-cycle

What about regular coffins?

The typical coffin is only really used for three days, but the tree used to produce one can take 30-40 years to mature.

“The tree can instead serve as an organic monument that their offspring and loved ones can spend a lifetime caring for.”

b&w capsule

A Sustainable Alternative

Advocates of eco-burials argue that modern burial practices are wasteful, and can even be toxic. Preservatives, like formaldehyde, are used for funerals, but are then left in the body, killing important microbes that aid decomposition.

Yearly Resource Cost of Burials in the US:

  • 70 Million cubic-feet of hardwood
  • 2 Billion pounds of steel
  • 5.4 Million pounds of copper and bronze
  • 3.2 Billion pounds of concrete
  • 800 Thousand gallons of embalming fluid

But is it legal?

Instead of cutting flowers for a grave, a cherry or magnolia tree could provide a canopy of blossoms. Their project is currently on hold, as Italian law currently forbids “natural burial” practices.

Eco-burial however, has become a growing industry in the US, with select cemeteries accommodating sustainable burial practices.


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