After months of trial, a living coffin grown from mycelium made its first appearance at a funeral in the Netherlands.
Bob Hendrikx, 26, founder of Loop, the startup company who creates living coffins, shared that he had a meaningful conversation with a close relative of the departed before their burial. As per Hendrikx, the son of the departed one was happy that through the coffin, his mother would go back to nature and would soon be living like a tree.
The eco-friendly coffins, called Living Cocoon, is made of mycelium, that as per Hendrikx, is nature’s biggest recycler. Mycelium looks for waste such as oil, plastic, and metal then converts them into nutrients that feed the ground. This goes to show that through the Living Cocoon, the environment can be fed with human bodies that serve as nutrients to the soil. Human bodies are nutrients and not waste, Hendrikx added. Mycelium does not only provide food to anything that grows on the surface, but its fibres can also be turned to clothes, packaging, and coffins.
Moreover, human bodies buried in Living Cocoons can decompose much faster as compared to those buried in regular caskets. A body placed in a traditional coffin made of wood and metal can become compost after a decade or so due to the materials that decelerate the process. A body in a mycelium coffin, on the other hand, can fully decompose within two to three years. The living coffin itself can be absorbed back to the soil as fast as one month.
In terms of production, each coffin is built in several weeks. The box is filled with wood chips, allowing mycelium to grow and form to the coffin’s shape, which is allowed to naturally dry. The decomposition process starts once it’s buried in moist soil.
The company is currently working on the effect of human bodies on soil quality. This is part of their goal to convince the officials to transform polluted areas into healthy spaces by using dead human bodies as nutrients to the ground.
Each Loop Coffin costs around 1,250 Euros, equivalent to 71,755.92 Philippine Pesos. However, Hendrikx assures the public that the price will drop as production increases. The company produced its first 10 Loop Cocoons that are now available in the Netherlands. They’re also planning to offer the coffins in other countries soon.