As in life, in death you have options. Many people aren’t aware that in 2015, and for the first time ever in the United States, cremation became chosen by more Americans than burial. And, within the next 20 years the National Funeral Director’s Association expects that nearly 80% of Americans will choose cremation (up from just 25% twenty years ago).The main driver of this shift is cremation cost – with full service burials costing an average of $15,000 to $20,000, families are pursuing cremation as an affordable, environmentally friendly alternative. Many families who have their loved ones cremated are also becoming less content with simply placing their ashes in a simple urn on the mantle, but instead, are looking for uplifting memorials to truly honor their loved ones. One option, in particular, that is growing in popularity involves a tree pod burial or using a tree urn with your cremation ashes.
The Living Urn, the leading bio urn and planting system, makes it easy for families to bury a loved one under a tree with their ashes. The patent pending system includes a proprietary biodegradable burial urn that is made from recycled plant materials and breaks down quickly when planted to support root growth, a special soil additive to balance out certain properties in ash that can make the growing environment less suitable for tree growth, mulch and planting instructions. The entire system is packaged in an eco-friendly bamboo cylinder.
So why do so many people want to be a tree after they pass? There are many reasons, and we’ve outlined a number of important ones below:
- A tree is a beautiful, living memorial (and not your typical headstone): Being part of the growing environment of a tree provides new meaning to that special tree memorial. It’s a living organism that can grow and thrive and keep your memory present with your loved ones. Family and friends can visit the tree for generations and reflect and remember. Trees present vibrant red, orange, yellow, green, brown, white, pink and other colors that light up the landscape and add beauty to the environment. Now, families can nurture a new life and spend time with your tree memorial - have picnics, read a book, take a nap next to it, or simply enjoy the beauty your tree memorial will provide;
- Trees clean the air: Trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing oxygen into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of carbon dioxide produced by a car that drives twenty-six thousand miles. In addition, trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, etc.) and filter particulates from of the air by trapping them on their bark and leaves;
- Trees provide oxygen: Two mature trees provide enough oxygen to support a family of four. With significant reductions in the rainforest, more trees are needed to help support mankind – your tree will contribute!
- Trees support wildlife: Trees provide food and shelter for birds, squirrels, deer, and lots of other wildlife;
- Trees are a natural air conditioner: A reprieve from the hot summer sun, trees are a great place for people to cool off and relax. Three to four trees growing strategically around a single family home can reduce summer air conditioning needs by up to fifty percent. This reduction reduces energy usage, resulting in less carbon dioxide and other emissions from power plants;
- Trees reduce runoff and prevent soil erosion: On slopes and hillsides, trees slow down rain runoff and help to hold soil in its place. In addition, they break rainfall and allow water to flow down their trunks and into the ground below the tree. This prevents storm water and related pollutants from being sent into the ocean, lakes, or rivers;
- Trees absorb and block sound: Trees can significantly reduce outside noise;
- Trees save water: The shade provided by trees slows the water evaporation on thirsty lawns. And, most newly planted trees only need up to 15 gallons of water per week;
- Trees shield people from harmful rays from the sun: Skin cancer has become one of the most common forms of cancer in the U.S. and elsewhere worldwide. Trees can help reduce UV-B exposure by up to 50%!
- Trees heal: Studies have shown that hospital patients who can see trees from their window heal faster and have less complications. In addition, children with ADHD have shown less symptoms when they have regular access to nature. The exposure to nature and trees aids concentration and reduces mental fatigue.
The Living Urn offers over 20 unique and beautiful tree options for most areas of the U.S. (identified by your zip code). They have arborists on-staff who have identified trees that grow and thrive where they will be planted. All urns come with a 2-4’ tree of choice, and not seeds.
We reached out to Mark Brewer, company President, and asked him why they include young trees with The Living Urn bio urn and not seeds, “It can be a challenge to grow a seed into a tree. We developed The Living Urn with this in mind and it’s the only bio urn available that’s designed to be used with young trees. In addition, we’ve partnered with award winning nurseries throughout the U.S. who supply only the best trees and who stand behind the trees they send families. We feel that is critical – especially since the tree is a beautiful reminder and a true memorial of a family member, friend, parent, or child. We stand behind our biodegradable urns and other products and our proud to have become the leading choice of funeral homes throughout the U.S.”