You may have recently read on the Awesome Inventions blog about how you or your loved ones can be turned into a diamond after they die, but for those without delusions of grandeur, perhaps spending the afterlife as a tree would be more fitting. The company Bios Urn take your cremated remains and place them in a biodegradable urn with some soil and other fertilizers, then a seed is added and you start your journey to becoming a tree. This is an excellent way of giving something back to the planet after you're gone, in the form of much-needed oxygen. You can also opt to be planted somewhere that your ancestors will be able to come and pay their respects. Just hope that none of them end up chopping you down!
The urn is extremely simple, but clever. It's composed of a biodegradable cardboard material that offers protection to the seedling, but will eventually break down allowing the tree's roots to spread. The ashes are kept in the bottom chamber of the urn, as the seedling grows better without them in its early stages, but once the roots are strong enough to enter the second chamber, the nutrients from the ashes will feed the tree and the deceased will effectively become part of this living organism.
The urn is also compatible with animal ashes, so it can be a meaningful way to honor a pet who has passed. It can be used with old ashes that have been saved, so there's no reason why you couldn't choose to put the ashes of someone who had passed many years ago into a Bios Urn.
The company distributes these seeds, but it's possible to choose any that you desire, so if you see yourself as more of a willow or a cherry tree, you just need to source your own seed. Although, it's best to find out what kinds of trees grow best in your specific region.