Hinterland Green

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ecoffins USA Makes Environmentally Safe Coffins from Banana Sheaves and Bamboo

Banana Cerise coffin, Photo: EcoffinsUSA LLC

I know people hate to talk about death, but it's a road we all must travel. Casket makers have found a new niche -- natural burials. There are now biodegradable coffins on the market. These caskets are made of materials such as recycled newspapers or cardboard. Ecoffins USA, takes it a step further. The company is now selling coffins made of banana sheaves, which takes six months to two years to biodegrade. The company reportedly sold $40,000 worth of banana-sheaf or bamboo coffins to funeral homes last year. At least 14 funeral homes across the United States offer them to their customers.

In natural burials, bodies aren't embalmed and eventually decompose into the earth. Ecoffins USA is the sister company of The SAWD Partnership, which has helped fuel the "green" funeral movement in the United Kingdom.

The company contends that the bamboo and banana coffins, made in Asia (no surprise), are better for the environment than the cremation process. According to the company's website:

  • Standard sizes are available up to seven feet in length. We also provide a range of smaller sizes which may be suitable for smaller adults, children and infants.
  • Constructed with a sturdy “eco-ply board” base, Ecoffins are engineered to accommodate up to 325 pounds.
  • Lightweight in construction, an empty coffin/ casket weighs less than 80lbs, making final transportation somewhat easier on pallbearers.
To the environmentally conscious consumer, the options for adhering to your beliefs are becoming virtually limitless.