Turn Your Dead Grandma Into a Tree With This Smart Planter

WIRED | 7/29/2017 | Elizabeth Stinson
Click For Photo: https://media.wired.com/photos/597bb3705350085419ca144c/191:100/pass/BioUrn-FA.jpg

After Jay Junker’s father passed away from cancer in 2014, the 33-year-old took his cremated remains and planted them in a field outside the family’s farm house in Vermont. His father, who Junker recalls as outgoing and nature loving, is now a white oak sapling that’s grown from 5 inches to just over 5 feet tall in the last two years. On nice days, Junker likes to take a stroll out to the meadow where his father is planted and spend some time reminiscing about how they used to ski and hike in the rolling green hills. “To me, this just seemed like the best way to keep in touch," Junker says. "The best way to keep someone in your life.”

Ashes by themselves don’t grow into trees, of course, but Junker had some help. He used a Bios Urn—a biodegradable urn that turns human ash remains into growth material for trees.

Bios - Urn - Idea - Cremation - Body

When Bios Urn debuted in 2013, it seemed like an outlandish idea. During cremation, the human body is stripped of all organic matter. The heat of the furnace, which can reach upwards of 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit, evaporates the blood, flesh, and bodily fluids into an exhaustible vapor. What’s left of the body is ash—or rather, a fine dust made from pulverized bone. “This ash doesn’t contain nutrients,” says Roger Moliné, who co-founded Bios Urn along with his brother Gerard. “The pH can be harmful for seeds.”

Bio Urn’s big innovation was building a biodegradable urn that could keep the ash and seeds separate during the plant’s gestation period. The cone is split into two chambers: The bottom chamber holds the ash, while the top chamber contains crushed up coconut shell and vermiculite, a mineral that helps plants retain water. When the root system grows strong enough—generally after a week—water will dissolve...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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