Many of us make small choices in our lives to help the environment. Now you can do your part even in death – with a coffin made of mushrooms.
A Dutch company, Loop, developed the biodegradable coffin using mycelium, the underground structure of mushrooms. (Think of it like the root system of a plant.) The first person to use the “Living Cocoon” died in 2020, and the company still sells the coffins today.
“It was a touching moment, we discussed the cycle of life,” Loop founder Bob Hendrikx said of a conversation with the deceased’s son, in the Guardian in 2020. “He had lost his mother, but he was happy because thanks to this box, she will return to nature and will soon live like a tree.
According to Loop, the mycelium material decomposes in 45 days, unlike traditional wooden or metal coffins. The body inside then decomposes within a few years, aided by the natural processes of the cocoon.
Hendrikx’s feeling is that humans have become disconnected from the Earth’s natural cycle. Modern burial methods disrupt the environment, from embalming chemicals that eventually seep into the ground, to air pollution from crematoria.
The biodegradable cocoon is supposed to bring people back to Earth, literally. it even arrives with a soft carpet of moss growing inside the coffin.
“The living cocoon not only decomposes in 45 days, it also hosts bacteria and microorganisms that neutralize toxins both in the body and in the surrounding soil, allowing people to enrich and cleanse the soil with their own nutrients,” reads Loop’s vision statement.
This all sounds pretty good! And the price is right too: around $1,569 (1,495 euros).
The bad news: the cocoon is currently only available for on-demand delivery in Europe. Elsewhere, potential customers can buy a voucher for a cocoon, to redeem when needed; shipping costs are not included in the price. The company eventually hopes to set up factories to make the products available overseas.
In the United States, however, some states let people choose “human composting” as an alternative to cremation or burial.
Something to think about! Being a tree sounds pretty nice, to be honest.
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Check out Simplemost for additional stories.