Skip to content

Design innovators create burial pods

Italian company Capsula Mundi has introduced organic, biodegradable burial pods as an eco-friendly solution to the ongoing issue of full cemeteries and burial grounds.

Burial space is at a premium across the western world, so the opportunity is there for innovators. And the question being asked by Capsula Mundi (Italian for “capsules of the world”) is what if, instead of cutting down a tree to make your coffin, you could turn yourself into a tree?

That’s the solution they are proposing with their organic burial pods, made from renewable materials including starch plastic and plants (potatoes and corn).

Capsula Mundi designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel have envisioned “a different approach to the way we think about death.” They picked an egg shape for their burial containers because it is “an ancient and perfect form.”

Bretzel said the idea came about after he and Citelli noticed tons of furniture in the trash after the famous “Salone del Mobile” design fair:

“We started thinking about projects that could have an environmental aspect. Death is part of our life but at design fairs nobody cares about that because it’s one side of our life that we don’t want to look at. We don’t like to think of death as part of life.”

A body in the foetal position is enclosed in a biodegradable burial capsule and then planted with a seed or sapling. Alternatively, cremated remains can be placed in a biodegradable, egg-shaped Bios urn that stores ashes below a soil mixture with an embedded seed that derives its nourishment from the ashes.

The tree is not included with the burial pod or urn. This allows someone living to select their own tree “as a legacy for posterity and the future of our planet”. Instead of bringing flowers to place on a grave marker, relatives and friends of the deceased will provide care for the growing tree, manifesting their love and respect not only for their dearly departed one, but for the whole Earth, says the company.

The Capsula Mundi prototype was revealed at the 2016 Przemiany Festival in Warsaw, Poland. The eco-friendly burial option was presented in New Zealand the following year.
Ironically, it is currently illegal in Italy to bury human remains as future trees. However, the founders of Capsula Mundi are working to change that.

Egg-shaped urns are already available, and testing is ongoing for body-sized capsulas.

Find out more at

Get more with a subscription.

Everything you need to know in the funeral industry. Get much more with a subscription to FSJ, from just £1.92 per month.


Share your thoughts...