Our body is a trash bin. During our lifetime, we collect waste substances in our body that we can neither use, nor process further. Due to this, our remains can become a threat to our environment. Ash scattering fields and graveyards struggle with soil and groundwater pollution. The number of nutrients and toxins are rising due to the high amount of ash scatterings and burials that happen in a relatively small area. The problem mostly arises when ashes are scattered, the substances are immediately available for the soil to use. To reduce the negative impact of toxins and nutrients, the release should be regulated.
The Dutch Water authorities (united in the ‘Energy and Raw Materials Factory’) can reclaim a new sustainable material from wastewater – a bioplastic called PHA (Poly Hydroxy Alkanoate). This material is similar to regular plastic but completely dissolves in nature. Small organisms in the soil can feed on PHA, which makes the process of biodegradability similar to that of wood.
Studio Nienke Hoogvliet introduces a new type of urn. In the project ‘MOURN’ they redefine the concept of an urn as a storage device for cremation ashes. It’s no longer a vessel. By mixing PHA with cremation ashes, an object is formed that can be given back to nature as a whole. This way, the release of nutrients and toxins in the ashes can be regulated. Because not every type of soil has the same needs, we have distinguished three types of soil: over-fertilized soil, rich soil, and poor soil. The urn has three distinct types of shapes depending on the compactness, type, and quality of the soil. This way, soil can process the substances at its own pace. MOURN impacts local flora and fauna as little as possible. It prevents soil and groundwater pollution. You can give yourself or your loved one back to nature in a responsible way.