Biodegradable Urns

Biodegradable Urns | Bio Urns - Where and Why


  • Importance of Biodegradable Urns
  • Benefit of Biodegradable Urns
  • Different Types of Urns
  • Traveling With Bio Urns
  • Green Funerals


More and more people are considering the environment. With the effects of global warming, pollution of the earth's water, and destruction of natural resources it's no wonder that companies have started to take the environment more seriously.

One way to reduce the harmful effects on the planet is to rethink what we do with our deceased. Several biodegradable urns for ashes are on the market today, so that in memorial of a loved one, the family can be confident their ceremony has not hurt the environment. The materials and methods that are used for the memorial are friendly to the environment. Some people might be scratching their heads about the idea of an urn that's going to break down over time, but there are some distinct advantages.

The first and most obvious advantage is that they are environmentally friendly, as one would expect a biodegradable urn to be. But these urns don't just break down into wood pulp and call it a day. Many of the urns are made with a type of paper that can have seeds embedded in it, so once it breaks down, it can actually create new living things, and that is a great way to honor the memory of a loved one. It is a natural demonstration of the cycle of life, we born, we die, we replenish the earth and the cycle begins again. Biodegradable urns are also consciously decorated with water based paints, so there isn't even the smallest danger of polluting the environment.

Another advantage to biodegradable urns is that they are substantially cheaper than traditional urns made of rich hardwoods, stone, marble or metal. This is a great option for those who are on a budget. Sometimes when we lose a loved one it is very sudden and it can lead to families scrambling to afford the cost of a funeral. Biodegradable urns are very reasonably priced so this can take some stress off of the family who already has to endure a loss on top of thousands of dollars for a funeral. With average funeral costs being close to that of what a new economy car costs, every bit of savings can help.

There are a few different types of biodegradable urns and each has a different purpose. The first type of biodegradable urn is the burial urn. These are made of a very heavy paper like material. They also come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. This is the type we discussed earlier that can have seeds embedded in the paper to make a new plant grow as the urn breaks down. These are specifically meant to be buried in the ground and keeping them at home on a shelf is not recommended. Another type of biodegradable urn is called the scattering urn. This is a paperboard tube that is sealed and when it is time to spread the ashes of a loved one, a pre-perforated hole is opened in the top. These can be kept at home for a short period, but they ultimately are meant to temporarily store cremains. They come in a variety of sizes and can have quite elaborate images printed on them. They are even available for pet cremains as well. The last type of biodegradable urn is one that looks like a conventional urn; however it is made of environmentally friendly cornstarch. These types of urns can be hand painted with water based paints, and they can be kept at home on a shelf as you might do with a conventional urn. They are also suitable for internment in a cemetery niche, or they may be buried. The cornstarch will break down over time and cause no harm to the environment.

Another type of biodegradable urn is called the deep water urn. These urns are not meant to be buried, but rather they are used in water burials, such as at sea or in a river near ones beloved home. They are made of a different type of material than those discussed above, and they are designed to float briefly and then once the water settles in they will sink to the bottom where they will break down over time. One incredibly interesting type of deep water biodegradable urn is hand carved from Himalayan rock salt and once cremains are placed in it and it is dropped into the water, it will break down within 4 hours, doing no harm to the environment. The salt is said to be some of the purest salt in the world. While you can get a keepsake size salt urn, it's not recommended in a house with pets. Pets, such as dogs or cats will be drawn to the salt and may start licking it and it would be awful to find the cat licking the urn and destroying it.

Families will often elect to spread a loved one's ashes in a place other than where they lived, such as in a favorite vacation spot like Hawaii or Alaska. Often US Navy veterans will want their remains scattered at sea. This may require family members to board a plane with an urn full of cremains. However, this is sometimes easier said than done since the events of September 11, 2001. Most of the time you can take cremains sealed in an urn on a plane with you in the cabin as long as they can pass through the security checkpoint and be x-rayed. However, some urns won't allow the machine to see what is inside. If this happens the security officers will require that you go back to the ticket counter and check the urn as checked baggage. This can make a difficult loss even more painful, knowing that their cremains are being knocked around in the cargo hold of an airplane. To avoid any issues with security, be sure to choose an urn that can easily be x-rayed if you will be traveling to the internment location. Most, if not all, biodegradable urns will fit the bill. It's also important to contact your airline ahead of time and be sure that you can bring the cremains on board with you and ensure that there are no special requirements, before you get to the airport and end up with a big, and possibly unpleasant, surprise.

As more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious, there is a new trend toward cemeteries that offer “green” funerals. Whether decedents choose to be buried or cremated, they want to know that their body will replenish the earth that so many of us have taken for granted. Because of this there is a niche for biodegradable caskets as well as biodegradable urns. Biodegradable caskets look like beautifully hand-woven baskets, and they are constructed of pesticide free wild grasses and willow bark. They are suitable for burial, or for viewing with cremation afterward. Not only are these caskets eco-friendly, they also provide much-needed financial support to the local population who makes them. Another aspect of the green funeral is not being embalmed. While some might wrinkle their nose at the idea, the embalming process is relatively new. Before it became popular during the Civil War, bodies were simply buried as they were, and usually very quickly after the death. Many who want a “green” funeral are requesting this again as they believe that the embalming fluid is harmful to the earth. This is really a matter of personal choice.

As time goes on, and we all become more environmentally conscious, it is clear that the "green" funeral will grow in popularity, whether it involves cremation or burial. This is good news for the planet as well, because by being environmentally conscious, even after death, we may be able to repair some damage we have done. After all, it is the cycle of life, we are born, we die, and we replenish the earth.

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