For the first time ever in the United States, cremation surpassed traditional burial, according to a report obtained by Time last year.
In 2015, the cremation rate was almost at 49% compared to the 45% burial rate estimate reported by the National Funeral Directors Association.
“Cremation has become the new tradition,” says Barbara Kemmis, CANA’s executive director. “It’s a seismic shift in the profession.”
Since more people are opting to have their bodies cremated, there has also been a rise in the way in which the resulting ashes are stored.
Keeping the cremated remains or "cremains" in an urn or scattering them just don't seem to cut it anymore.
You can now opt to be turned into a tree, a diamond or even shot into space.
Here are 16 interesting (and strange) ways that people are choosing to have their ashes handled:
1. Shine bright like a diamond
LifeGem is a company that offers its customers the option to turn cremains into a certified diamond in any cut, carat, clarity, and color you like.
They will also help you create a piece of jewelry, like a ring or pendant, using the sparkler.
2. Light up the night sky
If you thought fireworks were only for the Fourth of July, New Year's Eve or weddings, then you thought wrong. Your family can celebrate your life by lighting up the sky with fireworks made from your ashes.
3. Become one with nature
You can continue to be eco-friendly and help the environment even after you die.
If you choose to be buried in a biodegradable urn, your ashes can be used to plant trees or even an indoor plant that your loved ones can care for.
4. Journey to space
Although scientists are working hard at figuring out a way for the average person to be able to live on Mars, it's very likely that this may not be possible in our lifetime.
However, you can still make your dreams of going to space come true posthumously. Celestis.com offers a service that allows people to have their ashes blasted into space.
A few famous people, like Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, have had their ashes launched into outer space.
5. Contribute to science
If you're looking to save on funeral fees while helping advance scientific research, you can make arrangements to have your body donated to your local university.
Usually when they're done with the corpse, they will cremate your remains then notify your next of kin. If your ashes aren't collected within a specific time frame, they will dispose of it at their own discretion.
6. Be a marine habitat
Instead of having your ashes scattered in water, Eternal Reefs can turn them into an environmentally-friendly artificial reef to create new habitat for marine life.
According to their website, 1,800 reefs and counting have been placed off the coast of Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia.
You have the option to choose where you'd like your reef to be dropped.
7. Be a timekeeper
Back in the early 18th century, it was common practice to bury the dead with an hourglass to symbolize the sands of time running out. Today, you can have your ashes stored in an actual hourglass, and while it won't be able to tell time accurately, your relatives can still have something unique to remember you by.
8. Get stuffed in a teddy bear
One way to bring comfort to those you leave behind is to have your ashes stuffed into a cute and cuddly teddy bear.
Your family and friends ones will be able to hug you (sort of) whenever they miss you.
9. Spin on a record player
Just when you thought someone couldn't come up with any more creative ideas for your ashes, And Vinyly comes along.
The company will press your remains into a vinyl so you can spin right round on a record player.
Your family can provide the audio as well as the images for the cover and labels, or choose to have the company compose original "bespook music."
10. Go out with a bang
Two law enforcement officers from Alabama founded a company called Holy Smokes that allows people to use cremated ashes to create live ammunition.
You can opt to have them create a custom wooden carrier engraved with a name plate.
11. Turn into art
A piece of you can now really be part of the art your loved ones hang to remember you by.
These unique memorials even come with the option to have a name inscribed on them.
They measure 3 ½ by 3 ½ inches and 14 ounces of solid glass art. According to one Redditer, who purchased one, the price range is about $145 each.
12. Get inked...on someone else
People often get tattoos to honor the dearly departed, but now they can add a more meaningful twist to this tradition.
Now, they can get designs using ink infused with their loved one's sterilized cremains. Talk about really getting under someone's skin.
13. Up, Up and Away
If having your ashes launched into space is a little too extreme, how about having them float away in a helium balloon?
Eternal Ascent Society makes it possible for people to have their ashes placed in a biodegradable helium-filled balloon that can fly as high as 30,000 feet!
The atmospheric pressure will force the balloon to eventually burst and your ashes will be spread by the wind.
14. Carbon copies
Designer Nadine Jarvis came up with the Carbon Copies Project, which turns cremains into a set of 240 pencils.
The writing instruments, which are foil stamped with the name of the deceased, come in a wooden box, and only one can be used at a time.
The pencils can be sharpened with the built-in sharpener on the side of the box, and once they're all used, the shavings-filled box acts like an urn alternative.
15. Be a page turner
If you're passionate about comic books, you can follow in the footsteps of Marvel writer and editor Mark Gruenwald, and have your ashes mixed into a comic book.
Gruenwald's cremains were mixed into the ink used to print a collection of his Squadron Supreme series.
16. Cup of joe...literally
Your loved ones can remember you and your love of coffee every time they brew a cup, thanks to Chronicle Cremation Designs.
The New Mexico-based company will turn ashes into mugs, bowls, bottles, and other dinnerware.
The ashes are mixed with natural materials to create a ceramic glaze that is used to coat any design you like.
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Would you choose any of these methods for your ashes? Let us know in the comments!