Netherlands startup enables first-ever burial in a ‘living coffin’

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Netherlands startup enables first-ever burial in a 'living coffin' - We The World
Image courtesy of Metro News

A Netherlands-based startup has enabled what is being called the first burial using a coffin that is made of living beings and can greatly reduce the pollution footprint of a regular coffin burial.

Founded by the 26-years-old bio-designer Bob Hendrikx, start-up Loop has developed what they’re calling a ‘Living Cocoon’ which is a coffin made from mycelium – a distinct fungus.

The very first burial using the coffin was made last week. The son who lost his mother and was buried in the living coffin was supportive of the project, Hendrikx says.

“Thanks to this box, his mother can return to nature and soon live like a tree. It was a hopeful conversation.”

Hendrikx says people were mostly supportive of his venture, where until now 10 coffins have been made so far. “Does the coffin walk into the grave itself? They ask me then,” he said in an interview with Metro Newspaper.

Returning back

The idea behind the special coffin is that, unlike traditional coffins which take decades to decompose, thanks to the varnished wood, metals, and synthetic clothes in the content, this one not only disappears in a month but also help disseminate the body’s nutrients into the soil, thereby helping it fertilize.

Hendrikx, who has studied at the Technical University of Delft, says this coffin helps make people become one with nature again and enrich the soil instead of polluting it.

According to him, burial in the coffin will enable effective decomposition of the body and help the soil get free from toxic substances.

Further explaining the hunger of mycelium to decompose, Hendrikx explained: “It is constantly looking for waste to convert it into nutrients for the environment. It does the same with toxins, such as oil, plastic, and metal.”

“Mycelium, for example, has been used in Chernobyl, is used in Rotterdam for soil remediation and some farmers also use it to make land healthy again,” Hendrikx explained.

As of now, the living coffin is priced at 1250 and 1500 euros and the startup is looking forward to making it more accessible and the new normal.

When asked if he too wants to be buried in one of his coffins, he said of course he does.“I hope that I will eventually become a very beautiful Douglas fir,” Hanrikx said.

“An appropriate choice of the young designer. I think that is a really cool tree, which provides a lot of good on earth.”

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