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 began testing strains of edible mushrooms that could eat a decomposing body and break down those toxins released during decomposition.
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.
She tested the mushroom spores on pieces of her own hair, nails and skin flakes.
The spores appeared to like it very much. They soon started to grow.
The experiment's success meant that Lee could begin developing a suit that could decompose a body, its toxins and prevent further pollution that comes with traditional burial and cremation practices.
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 Infinity Burial Suit is lined in mushroom spores which will feed on the body as it decomposes. You simply "place the suit on the body and bury it. No special procedures," according to the company's website.
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."
The suit will become available for purchase in June for $999, but the company's pet burial pods will roll out this month.
Coeio pet burial pods.
"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."
Lee and Ma believe this new burial process has the potential to also shift culture towards a more sustainable funeral practice.
"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."