There is a huge choice of coffins out there, you may wish to have something that is environmentally friendly and/or ethically produced.
- Environmentally friendly coffins – on what basis?
What the coffin is made from is a good starting point, at the good end of the spectrum there are materials that have come through the recycling chain such as cardboard, then there are materials from what are known as sustainable sources, which is a broad term, but basically material that grows back quickly and farmed in a good way. Willow coffins are a good example of this – Willow is fast growing and regrows quickly. Cardboard is another good option.
Do a bit of research, if your Funeral Director offers you a choice of willow coffins understand there are some good ones and some not so good ones, just because they look attractive they may not be all they seem.
We would also point you away from hardwood, they look grand but hardwood by its nature is slow to grow and can’t be replenished quickly. It is nearly always imported to which has carbon footprint implications.
Standard coffins also have a number of accessories attached eg handles, on the more affordable ones these are plastic, on the more expensive they are metal.
There is also the issue of carbon in production, transport is a big factor here most imported coffins are shipped in via sea cargo route, which is far better than air freight, but still is a source from the UK is better. Then there is the issue of energy intensive production, those made from card or woven score the best.
- What constitutes Ethical?
Another big question. However, if you wish to consider an ethical dimension too (or maybe in preference) then understanding a companies supply chain is important, if the coffins are made in a developing country have a look to see if they make a statement about working conditions wages etc.
To date we have only found two companies we are really impressed by, so you could always save yourself some time by clicking the following links:
Ecoffins including Creative Coffins have a range of coffins in a range of materials, the woven ones are made in the own fair-trade factory in China. They make great quality coffins and tick all the boxes too.
Ecopod – Based in Brighton they obtain a supply of post consumer newspapers from a curbside collection and recycling co-operative and convert them into paper clay with the help of a pre-war dough machine. The clay is laid by hand into fibreglass moulds and dried in a specially designed heating chamber for 6 days, before starting the second stage of production, which involves steaming and sanding each lid and base into its final shape and fit. Each Ecopod is finished to order. And we think they look great.
Feet First 100% Environmentally Friendly They adopt an enlightened approach to today’s changing attitudes towards conventional practices by offering an alternative to the sometimes-unsatisfactory choices available. They encourage people to have the coffin they really want and hope that by helping you have the personalised coffin or casket of your choice, they make a difference to you and your family. People are as individual in death as they are in life and a personalised coffin can pay tribute to the person who has died.
Honest Coffins Limited build solid wood coffins (no MDF or veneer) with handles that can be used to carry the coffin and aren’t there just for show. We source our timber from small sustainable woodlands in Scotland.
Trees that are felled are replaced with new ones. The use of this timber helps to encourage local jobs in the area and the continuation of a historic forestry industry. The rope handles are made in a traditional Victorian ropery that also makes the rigging for H.M.S. Victory. Again we believe that this helps to promote local jobs and skills in that area.
Most of our coffins are custom built but at a price that is competitive with the cheaper MDF and veneer models (with plastic handles) that are offered by mainstream undertakers.
Cradle to Grave – Beautifully handcrafted in Dorset we produce bespoke unique willow coffins ,for green, environmentally friendly and alternative funerals and woodland burials, in fact these coffins are suitable for cremations and any types of funerals.