Four Ways to Give Your Body Back to Nature After You Die

By Jennifer Luxton on Saturday November 11th, 2017

The Circle of Life

Whether it’s sudden or a long time coming, we all draw a last breath. What happens next is largely driven by tradition, regulation, and a multimillion-dollar industry: About half of Americans choose cremation, and the other half are buried. But what if you want your body to be useful still? Ideas emerging from an alternative community of mortuary and hospice professionals offer ways to give your body back to nature. As strange as some of these methods might seem now, they are at least getting us talking ‘outside the box’ about death.

Infinity Burial Suit

The body is buried in a casket made of organic material or placed directly in dirt wearing a biodegradable suit, woven with a mix of mycelia and other micro-organisms. As the body decomposes, fungi help with decomposition, neutralize toxins in the body, and transfer nutrients back to the environment.

Infinity Burial SuitMushroom mycelia are woven into the suit to help decompose flesh.

Mortality Composting

Soil scientists with the Urban Death Project, in Western Washington, are prototyping the ‘recomposition’ process on human remains, after successful trials with livestock remains. The eventual plan is to build a recomposition structure for use on a metropolitan scale.

First, the body is placed inside a vertical chamber layered with wood chips, similar to the way compost piles use leaves as a carbon source.

Over several weeks, as the body is decomposed by bacteria, it shifts down the chamber. Other bodies are laid on top as part of a continual process.

Recomposition CycleThe recomposition process can be used on us too!

Eventually, all that’s left is a nutrient-rich humus, ready to nourish new life.

Reef Balls

If cremation is still the most cost-effective option, consider this alternative to an urn. Florida-based Eternal Reefs offers to add your ashes to a concrete structure, designed to attract aquatic plants and animals when set out on the ocean floor. Eternal Reefs’ partner, the Reef Ball Foundation, sets out artificial reefs in areas of development to encourage estuary restoration and habitat recovery. Besides reef propagation, they are also used as breakwaters.

Help restore estuariesReef Balls allow your ashes to be used to help restore estuaries.

Conservation Burial

The simplest solution might be natural burial grounds, which let you go into the grave without a casket or even embalming. An essential oil solution can be used as an alternative to formaldehyde. Plots are marked by GPS tags rather than headstones to maintain the landscape’s natural appearance. Some cemeteries and brokers facilitate conservation burial by purchasing land for the use of green burials, thereby designating it exclusively for cemetery use in perpetuity.

Conservation burialConservation burials are a nice way to become one with the Earth, naturally.


Ready to Start Living? First, Consider Your Death

12 Life Lessons from a Man Who’s Seen 12000 Deaths

How to Recycle Yourself

How to Recycle Yourself


The Shamanic View of Mental Illness

Plato’s Wisdom on How to Live a Good Life

Three Steps to a Kinder Mind


Subscribe to UPLIFT

UPLIFT is dedicated to telling the new story of inspired co-creation.

Get free updates and news about UPLIFT events and films.




the yoga channel


follow UPLIFT on   



Join the Conversation

5 Comments on "Four Ways to Give Your Body Back to Nature After You Die"

newest oldest most voted

I love this concept, naturally composting & feeding the earth 🌏 We don’t need to preserve our bodies or make more pollution by burning. Our last gift to the earth which fed & nourished us all our lives.


feeding the earth…and other humans… my favorite species… to eat

Barbara M.V. Scott
Barbara M.V. Scott
Gaia’s beautiful landscapes certainly do not need to be further polluted by harmful embalming chemicals and toxins. It is high time that we consider that each human being ought to have a deathright to be able to choose their own way of dealing with their bodily remains. Research has deemed it harmful spiritually to deal with human bodies in such a violent manner when the soul is rising to its greater consciousness and the afterlife. One of the many alternatives could be family plots and gardens when descendants may return to grieve, honor and be with their ancestors in a… Read more »
Carol Lakay
Carol Lakay

It is such a natural method. I think we are already using a similar method here in Stellenbosch, South Africa.


If cremation is still the most cost-effective option, consider this alternative CANNIBALISM.

Soylent Green!