When you think about a final resting place, options such as a casket or urn probably come to mind. But if you’re concerned about the ecological effects of burial or cremation, or simply want to do something more unusual, there are more intriguing ways than ever to settle the matter of your, well, matter.
“Much like everyone has a unique life, I think everyone can, and should, have a unique passing,” says Dave Blake, owner of Spirit Pieces, a company that uses cremains to create artistic glass mementos. He says reflecting your personality after death can provide added comfort for the bereaved once you’re gone.
Many options we found are cheaper than a traditional burial or cremation. And if you have life insurance, the payout your beneficiaries receive can go toward any kind of send-off.
Here are seven amazing things you can be after you die.
How it works: Your cremains are transported from the mortuary to a beach or on-water location. They’re then packed into specially designed shells and incorporated into a fireworks display.
Who offers it: California-based Angels Flight.
Price: $4,250 and up.
2. Glass art
(Photo: Artful Ashes)
How it works: Artists add a tablespoon of your ashes to custom-made, swirled-glass keepsakes for loved ones, such as orbs and pendants.
Price: $79 and up.
3. A marine reef
(Photo: Eternal Reefs)
How it works: Your cremains, or a portion of them, are fashioned into an environmentally friendly, artificial reef formation between 3 and 5 feet wide and 2 and 4 feet tall. Family and loved ones can even participate in forming the reef. Once finished, there’s a memorial service during which the reef is placed in a preselected, underwater location, where it becomes a permanent marine habitat.
Who offers it: Eternal Reefs in Florida.
Price: $2,995 and up.
4. A diamond
How it works: Carbon from your ashes or a lock of hair is used to create a certified diamond. A range of colors is available.
Price: $750 and up for single order. The cost per gemstone may be lower for larger orders.
5. A space traveler
(Photo: Elysium Space)
How it works: A portion of your ashes — or, in some cases, DNA from hair or saliva — hitches a ride into space. Providers use partner companies for the spacecraft and launches, and you can choose from a variety of experiences, including having your remains return to Earth after flight, rest permanently on the moon, float in deep space or even light up the sky as a shooting star.
Price: $1,295 and up.
6. 'Green' ashes
(Photo: Direct Cremation of Maine)
How it works: A “green” cremation — sometimes called resomation or bio cremation — is an environmentally friendly alternative to cremation by fire. Instead of reducing the body to ash by flames, which poses a risk for harmful emissions, a green cremation employs a solution of water and potassium hydroxide.
Price: $1,495 and up.
7. Helpful to the soil
How it works: Instead of being embalmed and buried in a casket, which can contaminate the soil, you go into the ground in a biodegradable Infinity Burial Suit. Made of mushrooms and bacteria, the suit reduces toxins as you decompose so that your remains nurture vegetation.
Who offers it: Coeio.
Alex Glenn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.