Former Beverly Hills 90210 star Luke Perry was laid to rest in a “mushroom suit”, his daughter has revealed, but what exactly is this eco-friendly burial option?
Sophie Perry spoke in an Instagram post of how mushrooms now hold an entirely new meaning for her, as she praised her late father’s alternative mode of interment. He died in March after suffering a massive stroke.
“Any explanation I give will not do justice to the genius that is the mushroom burial suit, but it is essentially an eco friendly burial option via mushrooms,” she posted from the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in California.
“My dad discovered it, and was more excited by this than I have ever seen him. He was buried in this suit, one of his final wishes. They are truly a beautiful thing for this beautiful planet, and I want to share it with all of you.”
The mushroom suit, or infinity burial suit, was developed by Jae Rhim Lee, founder of Coeio, a California-based green burial company.
The firm claims to have found a better way to reduce the body’s toxic pollutants, including lead and mercury, which are often released into the environment during decomposition and cremation.
Made from organic cotton embedded with material from specially cultivated mushrooms, the firm says its infinity burial suit “delivers nutrients from body to surrounding plant roots efficiently”.
Jae Rhim Lee wore an early version of the suit during a Ted Talk in 2011 in which she explained her research.
“Some of our tastiest mushrooms can clean environmental toxins,” she said, “so I thought maybe I can train an army of toxin-cleaning edible mushrooms.”
The firm promises to plant two trees for every suit it sells. Its website says the mushroom suit – which costs $1,500 (£1,144) – is currently out of stock, although it does have a version for pets.
“It’s a step towards accepting the fact that someday I will die and decay,” says Jae Rhim Lee. “It’s also a step towards taking responsibility for my own burden on the planet.”
Eco-living may be trendy, but eco-death is a uncomfortable idea for some social media users.
“This is creepy, disgusting and disturbing,” said one Instagram user. “Imagine now using the mushrooms for a recipe… mushrooms that have been feeding off a corpse.”
Addressing Sophie Perry, another said: “Ridiculous! Don’t you know about dust to dust.
“Had you buried your father in a wooden casket, be assured, he would have been returned to the earth without paying $1,500 for a silly mushroom suit.”
You may also like
Green burials are not a new concept. In Washington state compost burials have been presented as an alternative burial option by the company Recompose.
The idea is that the human body composts so loved ones take home a pot of soil instead of an urn of ash.
In the UK there are already services that provide eco-friendly or bespoke funerals.
One of them is Manchester-based Natural Endings, which offers biodegradable coffins made from materials such as bamboo, willow and woven pineapple leaves.
London-based firm Green Endings also offers eco-friendly burials.
“In the 15 years I’ve been working in this business,” says Jeremy Smith from Green Endings, “I’ve seen the rise of the green burial site as a key trend.”