Funerals can be such lavish affairs, and that can include the casket we are buried in.
I understand that to some people buying an expensive coffin to bury a loved one in is a sign of deep respect and recognition of the importance that person had in their lives. We learned this practice from ancestors such as the ancient Egyptians.
However, we aren’t all Pharaohs, royalty and such and the impact on the environment of millions of caskets, not to mention the cost; is substantial.
In various cultures a casket is simple, or may not exist at all – and it has little to do with economic circumstances.
In some Islamic burial rites, the body interred without a casket – it’s just covered with a shroud. The reasoning behind this I’m not sure (perhaps someone could enlighten me), but it’s certainly quite eco-friendly.
Even if we do opt for a casket, it doesn’t need to be made from huge amounts of treated wood and adorned with all sorts of trinkets. In my article “Green Funerals And Burials“, I mention some of the very interesting and more eco-friendly alternatives.
Another option to add to those was sent to me today by David Lew of Eeternity.com, who offer a casket made from recycled waste.
Made in the USA, the Eternity coffin is made from recycled corrugated cardboard; with the interior fabric and wadding consisting of unbleached cotton. Even the grain finish of the casket is printed with soy based inks. According to David’s site, all components are collapsible and are shipped in a compact, light weight shipping container.
The casket weighs just 26 pounds, far less than the 100 – 300 pounds of regular coffins. Even though it’s made of cardboard, it’s able to bear 250 pounds.
Given its compactness and light weight, it might even be worthwhile thinking ahead and acquiring one now – stick it in the garage or attic, ready to go when you do. It would certainly make for an interesting conversation piece and if anything, you’ll be remembered for being considerate :).
At $375, it’s much cheaper than a normal casket too – looking around the web, I saw budget caskets starting at around $600.
How we decide to leave this world is worth considering as part of a commitment to greener living – and the casket is only one aspect of our passing we need to be conscious of.
As what happens after death can be a very environmentally harsh process, it’s great to see the funeral industry increasingly addressing environmental concerns.
See more eco-friendly caskets and read about other related considerations in my article, Green Funerals And Burials.