The issue of what to do with your body after you die can be a difficult subject to discuss, but for some, it helps to know that in death, they’re giving back to the Earth in a big way. That’s the eco-friendly idea behind what may be the greenest burial plan ever — the “Infinity Burial” mushroom suit from designer Jae Rhim Lee.
Created by the artist herself, the mushroom suit is essentially a spore-filled uniform that allows flesh-eating mushrooms to break down and decompose a corpse. When developing the suit, Lee tested strains of edible, everyday mushrooms — like enoki, oyster, and shiitake — to see if they would feast on samples of human hair, skin, and nails — the artist’s own.
Indeed, the mushroom spores responded to being “fed” human parts and began to grow, leading Lee to develop the suit. Aside from decomposing a corpse, the suit has the added benefit of being able to break down toxins released during decomposition, eliminating approximately 300 chemicals that are typically released in the environment after a person’s death. The whole process is based on a method of soil cleansing called mycoremediation — essentially, using mushrooms to remove environmental contaminants.
“I was inspired by the idea that mushrooms are the master decomposers of the earth,” Lee told BuzzFeed.
If the Infinity suit sounds like something you might be interested in, you can order it online for $1,500, and there are similar burial options for pets. So far, at least one person has agreed to be buried in the suit. If the whole thing still makes you a little squeamish, get to know Lee and the project by watching her Ted talk about the benefits of eco-friendly burial options.