Minnesota recently released statistics on what materials and how much the US funeral industry uses each year. Among them are 3.8 million liters of embalming fluid, 2,700 tons of copper and bronze, 91,440 m of planks, 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete, 14,000 tons of steel. This means that every year, together with the dead, a huge amount of energy-intensive resources, as well as materials that are harmful to the environment, appear in the earth.
As an alternative, the company Loop (Netherlands) has developed, or rather grown a “living” coffin called “Living Cocoon”, which is based on mushroom mycelium. The time for the complete decomposition of the body of the deceased in such a coffin is reduced from 10 to 2-3 years. The developers of this unusual product are Bob Hendrix, the company’s designer, Delft University and Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Netherlands).
The company’s website details the merits of the new product. In particular, it is said that the mycelium is the best biological processor of organic matter into basic nutrients. For 45 days, groundwater activates the mycelium of the coffin, making it a part of wildlife.
“Living cocoon” is 100% natural. The inside of the coffin is filled with a soft layer of moss that facilitates the composting process. It takes a week to grow a “living” coffin – which is very important – from local materials without the use of electricity and lighting.