Leading the US in BioUrns and Planting Systems

The Living Urn

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 15. Life on Land

Overview

Launched in 2015 by three friends, The Living Urn, based out of Greenwood, Colorado, began producing cremation memorial plants for humans and pets. The idea for The Living Urn came from when a friend’s father passed away while they were still in elementary school. In 2010 after the passing of another friend, the idea of a memorial tree that grew from the cremation ashes was developed.

Authors

Jeffery Miller

Jeffery Miller

Natalie Trosclair

Natalie Trosclair

School

Nicholls State University

Nicholls State University

Professor

Christopher Castille

Christopher Castille

Innovation

The Living Urn is America’s first and leading Bio Urn & Planting System. It is designed to grow a tree, plant, or flower with cremated remains of a loved one or pet. The Bio Urn is 100% organic and biodegradable and is made from recycled plant materials. It is created without the use of machinery, glue, and chemicals. Production is done by only wetting and drying with pressure. Creating the urns this way results in a small carbon footprint.

Three friends were involved in the creation of The Living Urn. They spent years working with leading soil scientists and arborists. Using cremated remains in a growing environment creates challenges because the remains are basic on a ph scale and trees usually prefer more acidic environments. The three friends had to meet with soil scientist and arborist to develop RootProtect. RootProtect is an additive that is used on top of the cremated remains in the BioUrn to offset properties in the remains that makes the growing environment that a tree could grow and thrive in. Multiple eco-friendly manufacturers were also involved in the process. The bamboo container, serves as an eco-friendly shipping container and an urn cover. It is handmade, a sustainable resource, and can be reused after planting your Living Urn.

Leading the US in BioUrns and Planting Systems

Inspiration

Having a memory to hold on to can be hard for many, but three friends incorporated one that can grow with them every day. From the interview we learned how the idea of the company stemmed from a tree planting memorial for the passing of one of the friend’s father. Brewer and his friends then took the tree planting memorial a step further by incorporating the ashes into the planting. Their goal was to give back to the earth while also forming a memory that allowed us to keep our loved ones near after their passing.

Overall impact

The developers of The Living Urn saw trends in the United States of cremation rates rising in what they called a “less traditional and cost driven society”. The Living Urn’s products can now be found in over 800 funeral homes and a number veterinary offices through the United States. The Living Urn has started reaching past the United States in to other countries such as Australia, South America and Canada.

Not only is The Living Urn leading the market in BioUrn and plant systems, they are giving back to our forest. For every BioUrn that is purchased, a tree is also planted in the wild.

The Living Urn has also launched what they are calling “memory forest”. They have partnered with over 30 cemeteries so far on this project. Basically you purchase the BioUrn and your memorial tree is planted and cared for in the memory forest next to the cemetery. This takes the care off of loved ones and allows adequate space for the plant to flourish. The memory forest is ideal for people who have apartments or move a lot.

Business benefit

The Living Urn works as a very tight knit eight person team. All employees work toward the goal of creating memorial products with as small carbon footprint as possible.

One of the things Living Urn prides themselves on and has kept in house is customer service. "When you lose a loved one you have a lot of questions and want answers right away. Keeping customer service in house has really allowed us to care for our customers. We make ourselves available to the families. We get many questions before the planting, during, and after", said Mark Brewer. Brewer believes by keeping customer service in house it has created a great rapport with families and made them feel more comfortable with the entire process.

Social and environmental benefit

The Living Urn is a leader in the green burial movement. They are also proud to use only environmentally friendly materials and processes for the creation of BioUrn and the Planting System. The Living Urn also started a new program a year ago, where every living urn planted, they donate to plant a second tree in one of America’s forest. Tree memorials, while being a wonderful way to honor a loved one, are also a way to sustain and improve life on earth.

Interview

Mark Brewer, Co-Owner and Co-Founder

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The Living Urn

The Living Urn

Greenwood Village, CO, US

Business Website: https://www.thelivingurn.com/

Year Founded: 2015

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

The Living Urn is America’s first and leading Bio Urn & Planting System. It is designed to grow a tree, plant, or flower with cremated remains of a loved one or pet. The Bio Urn is 100% organic and biodegradable and is made from recycled plant materials.