Sustainable funerals: How to go green when everyone’s wearing black
9:27 AM EST, Fri November 19, 2021
This "living cocoon" coffin, created by Dutch company Loop, is made from mycelium -- fungal fibers that usually live underground but can be cultivated in a laboratory. Look through the galley to learn more.
The coffin (pictured with inventor Bob Hendrikx) is designed to decompose in roughly 45 days once placed in the ground. A traditional wooden coffin, in comparison, can take up to 20 years.
Loop partnered with mycelium pioneers Ecovative for its product, and the coffins have been used for burials in Europe. Loop founder Bob Hendrikx says that as the company looks to expand, it plans to create coffins grown with fungi varieties local to where they will be used, for the best environmental impact. Look through the gallery to learn more about alternative funeral solutions.
The Capsula Mundi burial pod by Italian designers Raoul Bretzel and Anna Citell is a bioplastic capsule designed to break down once planted in the ground, providing nutrients for the sapling planted above it.
Courtesy Giacomo Bretzel
An urn version of the Capsula Mundi suitable for ashes is available, with the designers also testing a casket version designed to hold a human body.
Courtey Brenda Fitzsimons
US company Leaves With You crafts macrame coffins made from biodegradable recycled cotton rope and Fairtrade sourced wood. Designer Shaina Garfield's creations cost between $1,500 and $2,220 and have a low impact on the environment.
Steph Mantis/Leaves With You
Leaves With You coffins are made in collaboration with the bereaved, who are taught how to make the woven coffins and are encouraged to tie the last knots themselves.
Spencer Hill/Leaves With You
In the US, the Natural Burial Co. sells caskets made from recycled newspaper as a sustainable alternative to virgin wood. Coffins made from recycled materials are increasingly popular. The Ecopod, designed by ARKA, uses mulberry pulp.
Daniel Cronin/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Musgrove Willow Ltd grows 60 varieties of the tree on about 200 acres of farmland in Somerset, England. It produces more than 100 coffins each week, which are organic and biodegradable.
Biodegradable urns are becoming increasingly popular. The urn pictured is made from cork oak wood, for sale in Germany.
Henning Kaiser/picture alliance/Getty Images
A variety of biodegradable materials have been used by the industry. The urns pictured are made from cellulose, an organic material found in plants that can be processed into everything from photographic film to explosives, but can also be manufactured so that it's able to break down naturally.