Loop Cocoon Living Coffin to offer circle of life after death treatmentSeptember 28, 2020
The biodegradable casket is composed of mycelium, a structure of underground fungus roots.
A Dutch start-up called Loop Cocoon has created a living coffin entirely made of biodegradable materials. Instead of wood, the casket is made of a type of fungus, which will help to transform a human body’s decomposition into vital plant nutrition.
The entire casket is made out of mycelium, and the body is laid to rest on a bed of moss within.
The living coffin’s mycelium is fully biodegradable. That said, Loop Cocoon says that the addition of the moss helps to stimulate the decomposition of the body. The two types of living substance work together to transform the body of the deceased into nutrition that plants can use for health and strength.
“Mycelium is nature’s biggest recycler,” explained the biodegradable casket’s creator, Bob Hendrikx. “It’s continuously looking for food and transforming it into plant nutrition.”
The mycelium underground fungus structure also consumes toxins, converting them into nutrients that plants can use.
“It’s used in Chernobyl to clean up the soil there from the nuclear disaster,” added Hendrikx. “And the same thing happens in our burial places, because the soil is super polluted there and mycelium really likes metals, oils and microplastics.”
The living coffin is grown in the same way as a plant and takes a week to create in the lab.
The laboratory is located at Delft University of Technology. The casket is grown through the combination of mycelium with wood chips within a coffin-shaped mold. Once the mycelium has grown its way through the wood chips, the casket is dried out. The completed product is able to hold up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds) in weight.
Upon burial, the water under the ground dissolves the entire casket within about a month to 45 days. The body within is estimated to fully decompose within two to three years after burial. Comparatively, traditional coffins require 10 to 20 years for the body inside to fully decompose.
So far, Loop Cocoons has grown and sold ten of its living coffins, said Hendrikx. Each one costs €1,500 (around USD $1,750), which is quite competitive, if not inexpensive compared to traditional coffins, as the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) data indicates that the average casket costs just over $2,000.
“When the living coffin is in the ground you can even water it, add seeds, and you can decide what tree you want to become,” said Hendrikx.