Biodegradable Coffin Options and Costs

Updated November 5, 2018
biodegradable coffins

Eco-friendly or green coffins are made from natural sustainable materials that are biodegradable. They will not harm the environment as they decompose and no toxins will be released into the earth.

Types of Biodegradable Coffins

There are many different options available to consumers when shopping for eco-friendly coffins. Green burial options are becoming increasingly popular and actually, provide many benefits to the earth that start from the manufacturing of the coffin to the final burial.

Woven and Wicker Coffins

The woven and wicker coffins have many beneficial, eco-friendly aspects including:

  • They are made from fast-growing plants such as willow, bamboo, seagrass and banana leaves.
  • These particular plants do not need large machines to harvest them which helps reduce the carbon footprint.
  • The coffins are typically lined with unbleached natural, biodegradable cotton.
  • They may be higher priced than other green alternatives but are more sturdy and still disintegrate effectively.
  • The price range is from $1000 to $1500+.

Soft Wooden Coffins

Some advantages of soft wooden coffins include:

  • They still have the look of a traditional coffin but are eco-friendly.
  • They are made of softwoods such as maple, oak, pine, and poplar and can be finished with eco-friendly stain or paints or left natural.
  • If you know a woodworker, you can commission him to build the coffin according to your specifications.
  • You could even build it yourself.
  • The prices vary depending on the type of wood that is used. They range from $500 and up.

Cardboard Coffins

Cardboard Coffin

The cardboard coffins are also referred to as alternative or minimum coffins. Some facts about these coffins include:

  • They are made out of biodegradable cardboard, are light-weight and easy to transport.
  • They are most often used for green burials and cremations.
  • You can customize them with eco-friendly paints, etc.
  • Cardboard coffins are the most economical biodegradable options.
  • They range in price from $50 to $500.

Burial Shrouds

Burial shrouds are another biodegradable option and have been around for centuries. The shrouds are:

  • Used in traditional religious burials including Jewish and Islamic.
  • Handmade out of cotton, linen or wool.
  • Customized with a specific pattern as well.
  • Used on its own or with a coffin.
  • Pricing depends on the materials used and ranges from $200 to $1000.

Types of Biodegradable Urns

Biodegradable urns can be used for ground or water burial, but they must be made of specific materials that will disintegrate appropriately.

Urns for Water Burial

Water burial uses a biodegradable urn that contains the ashes. The urn:

  • Will be placed in the ocean or other chosen body of water.
  • Will sink and eventually disintegrate.
  • Is sustainable and comes in a variety of natural materials such as recycled paper, rock salt, gelatin, and sand.
  • Has a price range between $30 and $500+.

Urns for Earth Burial

These urns you can simply put the ashes in and bury it. These urns are:

  • Made from any biodegradable material such as hemp, cardboard, wood, polymers and tree bark.
  • Used for either for short-term/temporary burial or long-term storage burial options.
  • Made of biodegradable material that will disintegrate over time.
  • More likely to disintegrate quicker when there's more moisture in the soil.
  • Generally priced under $300.

Tree Urns

This type of urn is designed with soil and a seed that will allow a tree to grow from it in the name of your loved one. The price is around $150.

Burial Pods

The burial pod is an egg-shaped pod. The pod contains the ashes or the actual corpse of the deceased and is buried beneath a sapling. As the pod breaks down it provides nutrients to the tree planted above. The price is said to be less than that of a traditional $10,000 burial.

Are Traditional Coffins Biodegradable

While traditional coffins are made of wood and do have some biodegradable properties, they are predominantly made of metal (steel, bronze, copper etc.) therefore they are not biodegradable and are harmful to the environment.

Green Burial

If you are especially in tune with nature and care deeply about the environment, a green burial would follow along with your core values and beliefs. You would find it reassuring and comforting to know that your body will return to nature and have no negative impact on the environment.

Biodegradable Coffin Options and Costs