Tree Pod Burials & The Future Of Green funerals

Last Updated July 11, 2024

Funerals, a topic not many people wish to think about, have always been a major concern when looking at environmental conservation efforts. 

Burial plots require a lot of empty land, and the process of a funeral ceremony requires a lot of materials that may be considered overly wasteful. 

Conventional burial practices place a lot of strain on the environment, with the majority of the burial process involving hazardous chemicals, non-biodegradable materials, as well as large amounts of unusable land.

Cremation definitely poses a more green take on the funeral process, removing the need for land, a ceremony, and the materials that would go into a traditional burial. That’s not to say cremation doesn’t have its flaws though, requiring fossil fuels to burn the body at very high temperatures as well as air pollution. 

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Tree Pod Burial: The Capsula Mundi Project

The Capsula Mundi project is credited as being created in response to a lack of conservative designers within society, and specifically within the realm of coffins. Designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel stated that they noticed our culture placed a heavy emphasis on objects and vanity, distancing themselves from nature – As oftentimes, death is treated as “taboo”. Tree Pod Burial designers believe death is a part of life, and quite frankly, is unavoidable. Going beyond the principals of religion and cultural tradition, Capsula Mundi placed immense emphasis on the part we play within nature’s life cycle, as does every other living organism that dies on earth. Inspired by their beliefs, they set their sights on redesigning the modern coffin, an object they felt had been left out of the design world for too long. Using ecologically friendly materials, their idea would come to fruition in 2016 where the egg shaped tree pod burial would be created.

What Is A Tree Pod Burial?

final expense benefits tree pod burial vs tree pod urn and different kinds of tree pod burial

Tree Pod Burials occur like this: One begins by placing the remains within the pod, either cremated or preserved. Having been wrapped in a natural fiber cloth, or cremated in advance, the remains are then stored within the pod depending on the method preferred. From here, the pod is then placed into the ground, given adequate soil to incorporate the roots of a tree. Finally, the pod is allowed to degrade within the ground, providing nutrients to the tree above it over time.

Over time, the tree will grow, creating a canopy of trees to honor loved ones vs a canopy of tombstones. It’s important to note that cremated ashes are in fact acidic and not ideal for plants to absorb, so the team at Capsula Mundi designed around this problem. This was done by slowing down the absorption process to reduce the overall PH of the remains.

How Does The Tree Pod Burial Process Work?

As Tree Pod Burials continue to become optimized and introduced into markets, the process may change and take a new form down the road. 

Capsuli Mundi and other exclusive retailers are continuing efforts to mass produce the product, but the current process is as follows: 

First,

Tree Pod Type Is selected, with that either consisting of a traditional Tree Pod Burial, a Tree Pod Urn, or Bonsai Tree Urn.

Second,

From here, remains are either placed in the fetal position within the pod, or cremated remains are gathered and placed within the urn.

Note: If Tree Pod Burial is chosen, remains are wrapped in natural fibers.

Third,

Urn or Pod is sealed, and it is planted at the burial site where a tree is then planted on top of urn.

Finally, 

The decay process begins, and human remains are integrated into the burial site. Nutrients from the body or ashes will provide food to the tree as it grows. 

The Bonsai Tree Urn

Fresh on the tree pod burial line up, Bonsai Tree Urns are now available for those who wish for a more portable monument or those with strict restrictions regarding where they live. Bonsai Tree Burials for your loved ones follow similar rules to the original methods, allowing those to place cremated ashes into the vase and a tree to grow shortly after. Bonsai Tree Urns allow for a plethora of customization options, such as the color of the vase or the style of the bonsai tree. Bonsai trees are also particularly resistant, leading to the need for less water and sunlight. Bonsai Tree Urns simultaneously make for a great portable monument for a deceased loved one, as well as a nice accessory for any home.

What’s The Best Type Of Tree To Use For A Tree Pod Burial?

There’s plenty of options regarding tree choices and ultimately the choice is up to you as the only restriction involves the trees ability to grow. Trees may be used to represent specific emotions or to honor the deceased in a specific way. 

The top 5 most popular choices are as follows: 

1. 

Red Maple

The most popular tree pod burial option and for good reason, the red maple provides the perfect balance of beauty and resilience. Displaying color all year round, red maple trees can survive in all kinds of climates, being found all across America. The red maple also features a highly adaptable root system, changing its growth type depending on its conditions. The red maple tree also grows very fast, maxing out at 3 feet per year.

2.

Dogwood

Featured in white and pink varieties, dogwood trees are a very popular landscaping tree in America, and culminate to create a pleasant canopy with a lot of shade. This tree changes color in the fall but does not shed its leaves. The pink varieties of this tree may also be able to produce fruit, which attract songbirds. Dogwoods prefer a dryer soil climate and do not need a lot of water – they also do not require an overabundance of sunlight either.

3.

Flowering Cherry

Originating from Japan, this tree boasts a bright and colorful pink foliage. Flowering cherry trees actually prefer a decently acidic soil environment, being fortified by the acidic pH of the ashes or human remains. Flowering cherry trees do best in moist, but well drained soils. Flowering cherry trees do not require an overabundance of water nor sunlight.

4.

Sycamore

One of the premiere trees for blocking the sun, the Sycamore is another popular option for tree pod burials. Sycamore trees grow incredibly fast for their inevitable size and are very resistant to pollution, wind, drought, and even excess rain. The only downside to this tree is how immense they may grow to, sometimes outgrowing their restraints.

5.

Crape Myrtle

Coming in a lot of different color varieties, such as purple, pink, white, red, white, and more. Crape myrtle trees are the perfect option for those with limited space yet who still wish to conduct a proper tree pod burial. Crape myrtles feature extraordinary growth in exchange for a long-term reduction in their maximum size. Crape myrtles are relatively hardy and can resist drought very well.

How Much Does A Tree Pod Burial Cost?

It’s actually remarkable how inexpensive the tree pod burial is, especially if a tree pod urn is chosen. 

Generally, The Tree Pod Burial Urn ranges anywhere from $150 to $500 & the Tree Pod Burial pod has a bit higher of a range usually capping out at no more than $750

While remarkably inexpensive, especially juxtaposing that to your average cost of a funeral in America which is reaching towards $10,000 in 2022. The variables in cost come from the features required to host a tree pod burial, 

Such as:

  • Plot of land to host tree pod burial
  • Tree care and upkeep
  • Cremation services or body preparation

After all is said and done this may cap out at $4,000, which is just a little more than 1/3rd of the average cost of a funeral in America.

Are Tree Pod Burials Legal?

Overall the answer is yes, although different states have different regulations regarding how the tree pod burial must be handled. 

Generally, funeral planning restrictions involve the involvement of a funeral director, private vs public land for burial, the process for preservation and so on. 

Each state has a different set of requirements and may require a different process from another state. It’s important to consult your states’ regulations before pursuing a tree pod burial.

Where Can I Have A Tree Pod Burial?

It’s important to consult US Funerals Online and their Green Burial Directory.

This directory features an interactive locator one may utilize to find tree pod burial locations as well as funeral directors that are willing to aid in the process (of if it’s required). 

As mentioned previously, some states have different requirements and may dictate that you complete the process a different way

Who Do I Contact Regarding A Tree Pod Burial?

There are three stand-out brands when it comes to tree pod burials, with Capsula Mundi being the original creator of the process and product. As Capsula Mundi continues to modernize the process and sell manufacturing rights, more companies will inevitably pop up. 

Living Urn is America’s leading bio urn and planting system designed to grow a beautiful memorial plant with cremated remains. 

Bios Urn won the ADI FAD design awards and was the world’s first biodegradable urn in the marketplace that introduced the idea of planting a tree with a loved one’s remains.

This egg-shaped urn allows you to plan your loved ones as a “seed” to help nurture a tree as it grows, creating a beautiful memorial for your dearly departed. 

What's The Purpose Of A Tree Pod Burial?

When you think of a funeral, you generally have two options – a  traditional burial, and cremation.

While cremation is generally a more green friendly option, both methods are taxing on the environment at the detriment of conservation efforts. This is where a Tree Pod Burial comes into play, as it not only minimizes environmental waste, but it actually enriches the environment around the burial site, as a tree is planted instead of a tombstone.

According to the Green Burial Council, traditional funeral efforts use roughly 5 million gallons of embalming fluid and millions of feet of hardwood for the creation of coffins and other funeral accessories. This is also not accounting for the extravagant metals sometimes utilized within coffins, such as bronze gold and steel. While better for the environment, cremation still places strain as hazardous chemicals are used within the cremation process to produce the high heat needed to melt a human body.   

Aside from environmental efforts, tree pod burials are also much more inexpensive compared to a traditional method. They also produce a very visually appealing gravesite that some may prefer to your usual tombstone. 

In short:

  • Sustainable
  • Gives back to planet
  • Much more inexpensive then even cremation & burial

Tree Pod Burial Video

Are Tree Pod Burials Covered By Insurance?

Although not a part of any prepaid funeral plan we’re aware of, tree pod burials coalign with a final expense life insurance policy perfectly. This is due in part to the fact that final expense policies do not contain any restrictions as to how the payout may be used, therefore the death benefit may be used at the discretion of the beneficiary. Final expense policies also usually contain a death benefit of $10,000, which would easily pay for the tree pod burial and then some.  If you’re ever in need of a final expense policy, or you’re not sure where to start, we recommend calling us.  We at Final Expense Benefits partner with over 20 carriers, with: Being some of the ones that stand out among the crowd. Reduce the stress involved with life insurance and let us do all of the heavy lifting for you. You can reach us at 1 (866) 311-4338, and we’re open from 9-5, Monday through Friday.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does Tree Pod Burial Cost?

Generally anywhere from ~$150 to $750.

What is Tree Pod Burial?

An environmentally friendly burial option that was invented in 2016 by couple designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel.

Is a Tree Pod Burial Waterproof?

Tree Pod Burials are built with UV and water-resistant materials, allowing them to endure the elements.

Sources

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