Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eco-friendly Caskets - Be Still, My Heart!

Was having coffee with my sister this morning, and my eyes happened to glance upon a newspaper clipping she had set aside, about the new movement towards "earth-friendly, biodegradable caskets", as an alternative to the horrendously expensive (five to fifteen thousand dollars!!!!!) traditional caskets that take up so much of our rapidly diminishing space underground and bankrupt families interring their loved ones.

I got really excited.

"OOOOOOOOOH!!!!!! Bamboo! I love bamboo," I chirped excitedly, and my sister started to laugh.

"It's a casket!" she intoned, smirking.

"But what a great idea! Affordable, and so much nicer than the big bulky expensive ones, which I cant afford anyway."

I decided I want the woven casket, made of willow,  bamboo and seagrass, the model on the left, in the clipping above.

My sister allowed as how she likes the recycled newspaper coffin, on the upper right. This makes sense. She gets two papers every day, her recycling bin is always full of newspapers. (She could save them up!!)

"It would decompose pretty quick, and the worms would get in," I ruminate thoughtfully. "But I guess I won't care. I'd feel so....closed the steel ones. I couldn't....breathe."

We giggle.

The article says:  "From space-age mummies to sea-salt urns that dissolve in hours if floated out to sea, green burial options will be among the most innovative products on the trade-show floor at the National Funeral Directors Association convention in New Orleans this week.

".......A key component of a green funeral is placing the body or cremated remains in a biodegradable container that will break down quickly without doing harm to the earth around it," says Darren Crouch, president of Passages International, a company from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Church's company sells the wicker-like woven caskets, and urns made out of rock-salt, cornstarch, recycled paper and sand and gelatin. (Urns on the right, center) Another company, the Natural Burial Company of Eugene, Oregon, offers hand-made recycled paper Ecopod coffins in various colors. Made by the U.K.- based ARKA Ecopod Inc., the coffins can be screen-printed with images of doves, Aztec sun designs or Celtic crosses. The acorn-shaped pod on the bottom right is one of theirs.

"That's what I want!" I state enthusiastically, to make sure she takes note. "A woven seagrass casket."

Yay. My funeral expenses just got a whole lot cheaper. Given that my budget for dying is non-existent,  I couldn't really afford to die until now!

The article goes on to state that regulations prohibit most cemeteries from allowing "direct burials", in which the body is simply wrapped in a shroud and placed in the ground, (my other option:)). But a few progressive graveyards now have a small section for people who wish to be buried au naturel.

Cool! Problem solved. Sign me up! ;)


  1. Well this is a cheery subject to contemplate on a sunny day. LOL. I'm for cremation. Takes up less space.

  2. It has always seemed incredibly stupid to me to spend a fortune on an ornate casket which will only be buried. The deceased doesn't care.


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