Coffins, Shrouds & Urns
There are now many different types of eco-coffins, shrouds and urns which can be obtained via your funeral director, or in some cases directly from the manufacturer, or vendors who sell directly to the public. Everything that goes into the ground at our natural burial grounds must be biodegradable and of a natural material, and so in keeping with our ethos, chipboard veneered and MDF coffins are not acceptable.
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A cardboard coffin is a strong, sturdy but lightweight coffin which has been developed to meet the needs of those who prefer an environmentally friendly and biodegradeable coffin. Over the last few years the demand for 'greener' and less wasteful funerals has increased dramatically. There are a variety of cardboard coffins available, they are easily personalised and come in variety of designs and colours. It is possible to make personalise the coffin with photographs you can email to the manufacturer. You could even decorate it yourself with old birthday cards and photos or write messages on them.
A cardboard coffin painted with a boating design for a longboat enthusiast.
Decorate your coffin
Below is Rhiannon Leedam decorating a plain white cardboard coffin. The finished result transformed the undecorated coffin into a colourful meadow scene.
Ideas for decoration...
Paste on photographs, colourful tissue paper, petals, card models, a collection of Valentine cards, poetry even a plain colour paint. Whatever the family and friends want to do to personalise the coffin.
Sustainable wooden coffins
Coffins made out of sustainably sourced timber are also accepted, especially if finished in bees wax or natural oils. We like the sound of Milton-Keynes based Feet First Coffins, who offer hand made, environmentally friendly coffins lined using 100% non-bleached natural fair-trade cotton with meadow grass hay padding.
The Curve is available in a range of colours or can be decorated with an individual hand-painted design. It is constructed using only natural and renewable materials and they are all 100% made in the UK.
One of Bellacouche's hand made felt shrouds.
Bellacouche produces felt shrouds, the most commonly used is the 'Leafcocoon'. The woollen shroud is strapped to a strong wood-framed base and enfolded in many layers of thick felt giving the cocoon a smooth outline. Upper cover design options based on native trees and the top layer can be removed before burial and kept.
Wicker and Woven coffins
These beautifully crafted coffins are becoming a more popular choice as funerals become less traditional and people more aware of the wide variety of coffins available. Many companies provide them - Somerset Willow for example, grow and weave their own willow and have been making baskets for generations. The recent popularity of willow coffins has provided an essential source of business for a craft which is otherwise threatened by cheap foreign imports. Other materials that can be used are bamboo, pandanus, seagrass, banana leaf and water hyacinth.
A British wicker coffin on our bier at Usk Natural Burial Meadow.
www.wyldwoodwillow.co.uk - tel: Amanda 07816 005251
Woollen and Cotton Coffins
Made in Yorkshire from a combination of sheep wool and organic cotton, over a cardboard frame hemmed with blanket stitch. Fully biodegradable and offers a soft and gentle alternative to the more traditional materials available.
DIY Coffin Plans
If you're good at DIY you can make your own. We've made some plans to help you get started.
Coffin shaped coffin plan
Cowboy coffin plan (box shaped)
For Ashes ...
The Acorn Urn is made from recycled paper. It is a subtle, simple and fully biodegradable so the ashes can be buried in it.
Sustainable ARKA Acorn urn.
Earth Vessels are unique handmade urns made of hardened fabric by Beth in Dartmouth, Devon. Beth says "My dog takes me daily into the natural world and while walking I am drawn to and collect natural materials and earth pigments which I incorporate onto the surfaces of some of the urns. The landscapes of my walks inspire textures and images on the urns."