As you near death, consider this new option for your burial. Coeio, a New York-based company, is rolling out a new burial product that may appeal to the eco-friendly — the Infinity Burial Suit.
The Infinity Burial Suit uses mushroom spores to help the body to decompose.
Coeio co-founder and artist Jae Rhim Lee first came up with the concept of an eco-friendly burial over five years ago, said Lee in a 2011 TED talk.
Lee started developing the concept around the same time that studies were released exploring the number of environmental toxins introduced into our bodies through the lining in canned foods and other products.
The Center for Disease Control reported in February 2015 that people are exposed to about 265 environmental chemicals, including heavy metals and pesticides, that are later released into the environment as a body decomposes.
Lee has studied permaculture and learned about mycoremediation, which is essentially growing mushrooms to clean the earth, she told BuzzFeed News.
She was moved by this practice that she learned in a mushroom cultivation course with Paul Stamets, the founder and president of Fungi Perfecti which is a private company that promotes the cultivation of high quality gourmet and medicinal mushrooms.
“I was inspired by the idea that mushrooms are the master decomposers of the earth and thereby the interface organ,” she said.
A traditional buried body is pickled in embalming fluid which includes formaldehyde, methanol and other solvents to prevent decaying.
Cremation requires 28 gallons of fuel to burn the body which releases about 540 pounds of carbons dioxide into the air, according to the California-based non-profit Funeral Consumers Alliance.
The company already has over 2,700 people signed up to buy one of the suits. Dennis White from Woburn, Massachusetts was the company’s first client.
White said on the company’s blog that this is the future of funerals.
“I would request that my body in death be buried not cremated, so that the energy content contained within it gets returned to the earth,” he said. “So that flora and fauna can dine upon it, just as I have dined upon flora and fauna during my lifetime.”
“As we were doing research, we saw pets are just as important members of people’s families as two legged members of our families,” said Coeio co-founder Mike Ma to BuzzFeed News. “We’ll be rolling out a market for pet products so people can bury their pets in the way that they like.”
“For every person who uses the Infinity Burial Suit, there will be many more who witness the choice to return to the earth and to use one’s body in a beneficial way,” said Lee. “Cumulatively, this will help create a cultural shift toward a cultural acceptance of death and our personal responsibility for environmental sustainability.”