Being eaten by mushrooms is not everyones idea of fun. But when it is part of an environmentally friendly burial, you may begin to see the point of the Infinity Burial Suit which is being trialled in the US and is already going into production there. This is there story (in US English!):
What is the Infinity Burial Suit?
How does it work? The Infinity Burial Suit is a handcrafted garment that is worn by the deceased. The suit is completely biodegradable. It has a built in bio mix made up of two different types of mushrooms and other microorganisms that together do three things;
- aid in decomposition.
- Work to neutralize toxins found in the body.
- Transfer nutrients to plant life.
The end result of being buried in the Infinity Burial Suit is that bodies are transformed into vital nutrients that enrich the earth and foster new life.
How do the mushrooms work?
We are using two different types of mushrooms edible and mycorrhizal. Edible mushrooms are scientifically proven decomposers. These mushrooms break down material by emitting enzymes. The mycorrhizal mushrooms deliver nutrients to plant roots.
Mushrooms break down toxins in two ways with organic toxins, the mushrooms break down bonds and thus neutralize the toxins. In other cases, the mushrooms bind the toxins through a process called chelation and in turn make the toxins innocuous.
These various processes only provide positive benefits that save energy and resources, improve the soil, and enrich plant life.
What toxins are found in the human body?
The Centers for Disease Control in the US says we have 219 toxic chemicals in our body. These include tobacco residues, dry cleaning chemicals, pesticides, fungicides, flameretardants, heavy metals, preservatives, etc. The CDC reports that the chemical BisphenolA (BPA), a synthetic estrogen and plastic hardener which causes reproductive and neurological damage, is found in 93% of adults age 6 and older.
Do the levels of toxins in humans really matter?
By being buried in the Infinity Burial Suit, you are helping the environment, which we believe is a valid cause, not matter how small the contribution.
If the mushrooms break down the toxins found in human bodies, do they become toxic? What if someone eats them?
By a process called mycoremediation, the mycelium actually can break down many organic toxins and even make many heavy metal toxins inert as well. Mycelium does not always fruit (making the mushrooms you see and buy) that is dependent on soil conditions, temperature, and moisture; however, they are still working underground.
We plan on doing extensive research on all facets of the process. But as for the edibility that is still an active area of research. Some researchers are still conjecturing about this. But we hope to know more soon!
Are you introducing non native mushrooms into the ecosystem?
No, the strains of mushrooms that are used in the Suit are found all over the world.
Will the mushrooms eat me while I am alive?
(Remember this was written for a US audience who may not realise that you don’t put a burial suit on until you are about to be buried ;-).
No. The mushrooms we are working with are edible mushrooms, which prefer woodbased substrates. These mushrooms are selected for their capacity to digest dead human tissue. They are not being genetically altered and will not morph into a flesheating disease. Consider the following…at any given moment, there are a million fungal spores, bacteria, and even viruses in the air, on every surface, and even in your own body competing for nutrients. Your body, when alive, has a natural defense mechanism (your immune system!) to fight off these microorganisms. Your body, when dead, no longer has an active immune system and will therefore become food for any organism.
How will Coeio test if it works?
Our products are based off of well researched basic science studies. There have been a number of studies that have proven that mushrooms aid decomposition, remediate toxins and speed delivery of nutrient to plants. We are applying this science to burials and testing our patent pending application. Validation and transparency are really important values to the company, so testing is central to us.
I don’t plan to die anytime soon, but I want to use the Suit when the time comes.
How long will it last?
You do not have to be at need to order an Infinity Burial Suit. We are expecting our early adopters to take possession of the Suit, which will be packaged for long, stable shelf life with a guarantee.
Has anyone used it yet? Our first human adopter is Dennis White. He is terminally ill and has an Infinity Burial Suit. Coeio made a film about Dennis, titled “Suiting Dennis.” It is available to watch on our site. We hope you enjoy watching it!
Is it legal to use the Infinity Burial Suit?
Yes, it is completely legal to use. Where the confusion comes in is that some funeral homes and cemeteries require a traditional casket to be buried. While they make it sound like a legal requirement, it actually has more to do with their own commercial goals. This trend is changing however. In recent years, interests in green funerals have been on the rise, and a growing number of green funeral homes and burial grounds have emerged. If you are interested in these, simply Google green burial or check out the directory at the Green Burial Council.
Do I have to be buried in a special place when I use the suit?
A range of options are open to you, including traditional cemeteries, specially designated green cemeteries, green burial conservation lands, or even on private land. Providers are different, so we recommend contacting them to discuss your wishes and make arrangements. We find that green cemeteries and conservation burial lands are the easiest to work with and most aligned with our customers’ values.
To find one simply Google green burial locations or check out the directory at the Green Burial Council. For burials on private land, please be aware that laws are highly varied by municipality. Be sure to thoroughly research the options in your area.
Can you put the Suit into a coffin, or does it have to go straight into the ground?
It is fine to use the Suit in addition to a biodegradable container. It is also fine to bury the Suit straight into the ground.
How deep do I need to be buried? Will the mycelium work at those depths?
We suggest that the suit be buried at a depth of 4ft, not 6ft, for the mycelium. In natural or green cemeteries, 4ft is the common burial depth. Burial laws vary state by state, but legally most states require 18 inches of a soil buffer between body/container and the ground.
When can I get a Suit?
We plan to have the suits available for purchase later in 2016. How much does it cost? We are still working through production costs, but our target price for the suit is $1500.
Are you making a shroud?
Yes, in addition to the suit, Coeio plans to design a Infinity Burial Shroud.
We have asked them to keep us informed, some environmentalists might want to watch this space!