Tree pod burials in the UK

Tree in a field of wheat.

If you’re considering an eco-friendly funeral for yourself or for a loved one, you might’ve come across the idea of a tree pod burial. Here you can find all the information you need on tree pod burials in the UK, including:

What is a tree pod burial?

The idea of a tree pod burial came from Italian designers Raoul Bretzel and Anna Citelli, who own and run the company Capsula Mundi. The couple had been looking for a way to create a green burial that’s as good for the planet as possible.

The company aims to create an egg-shaped burial pod that will replace the need for a coffin or casket. The body of someone who’s passed away will be held in the foetal position inside the cocoon-like pod, wrapped in a biodegradable cloth made from natural fibres. The tree burial pod itself will be made from potato and corn starches.

When the pod is buried in the ground, a tree will be planted on top. The idea is that, over time, the microbes and nutrients from the body will nourish the tree, helping it to grow. If there are enough people interested, there could be tree pod burial locations across the UK, where trees replace headstones to make memorial forests.

How will a tree pod burial be more eco-friendly?

One of the main reasons that companies are developing burial tree pods is to give people a more planet-friendly choice. has reported that a cremation “takes up about the same amount of energy and has the same emissions as about two tanks of fuel in an average car”. At the same time, traditional forms of burial have an environmental impact too with their use of embalming fluids, concrete ground reinforcement and by taking up land that could otherwise provide a habitat for wildlife.

Tree pod burials grow trees, rather than cutting them down to make coffins. They’ll provide a habitat for local wildlife and don’t produce emissions. They also don’t require embalming or concrete reinforcement in the ground they use.

Can I have a tree pod burial in the UK?

At the moment, tree pod burials aren’t an option in the UK, or anywhere else in the world. It’s an idea that is still in its testing stages. This is important to make sure that they work and are both safe and legal. As and when they become available, we’ll be able to provide more information on how they work, rules around them and tree pod burials costs.

What’s the difference between tree pod burial and terramation?

Terramation, also known as “human composting”, is another green funeral option that hasn’t yet been approved by the UK government. At the moment, it’s only legal in 6 US states. Terramation involves placing someone who has passed away in a steel pod, surrounded by plant materials including wood chips and straw. Here, the body will turn into soil over the course of roughly 30 days. This soil can then be used for plants at home or can be donated to a conservation project.

Tree pod urns

If you like the idea of a tree pod burial, but would prefer to be cremated, or are looking for an option that is available now, you might want to consider a tree pod urn. A few different companies have created biodegradable urns that work in a similar way to tree burial pods.

While you’ll need to look into the different bio urns available for specific details, most of them work in a similar way. Generally, the urn will be a biodegradable container that combines ashes with earth. You can usually add any seed or sapling you like. Saplings tend to be easier to care for, as the initial work of getting a plant to grow strong roots and leaves is already done.

If you’re considering planting your tree pod urn away from your own home, it’s important to make sure you get permission from the landowner. This can help make sure that your plant or tree isn’t removed.

How much do tree pod urns cost?

Tree burial pod urns vary in price depending on where you buy them from. The average price is between £100-£200. You’ll probably notice that most companies selling them are US based, but there are suppliers in the UK who import and stock them. This means it’s possible to get a bio urn without importing one yourself. Scattering Ashes offer three different options:

Alternative eco-friendly burials

If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly burial that is available now, the most popular option tends to be a green funeral. This is a type of funeral that aims to leave the smallest footprint on the planet possible.

Green funerals tend to use natural burial grounds, usually in dedicated woodlands or meadows. These sites encourage the use of more easily biodegradable coffins or burial shrouds made from natural materials. They also tend to have no grave markers, or only allow grave markers made from natural materials.

You can find a list of woodland burial sites in the UK here: Find Natural Burial Grounds in the UK.

Photo by Johann Siemens on Unsplash