Eco-friendly textile coffins

 Images Swaledale
A textile company and coffin manufacturer are jointly introducing a new line of coffins made from wool or organic cotton. From a press release:
This is an innovative coffin and something completely new for the alternative coffin market, but the use of wool in burials is nothing new. The Burial in Wool Act of 1667 made it a legal requirement for the dead to be buried in woollen shrouds in an attempt to boost the struggling woollen industry of the time. With the current social eco agenda, rising concerns on the environmental impact of burials and this innovative product, the industry has come full circle.”
And from the description of the casket seen here, the Swaledale model:
The Swaledale coffin is made in Yorkshire using pure new wool, supported on a strong recycled cardboard frame. Wool is a fibre with a true "green" lineage that is both sustainable and biodegradable. The interior is generously lined with cotton and attractively edged in jute.

Independently tested and accredited for strength and weight bearing, the Swaledale's unique design combines the highest environmental standards with an attractive and soft feel. Designed to differ from the traditional wooden coffin, it offers a contemporary style with comfortable handling. The concept is completed with a personalised embroidered woollen name plate. All the materials used in the Swaledale coffin are readily biodegradable and suitable for cremation and all types of burial.
Hainsworth "Natural Legacy" coffins


  1. These are eco-hostile if you’re being cremated. Cremation relies on wood coffins to get a good, hot fire going. Without the wood, they have to use more gas.

  2. Comfortable handling. That’s what I want in a coffin. My current coffin handles like a truck, so I’m glad to see that someone’s paying attention to the needs of the sports casket market.

  3. Hair (keratin, as in fur and wool) is not readily degradeable. It’s one of the toughest environmental samples to dissolve in the lab and very long-lived in pre-coffin cemeteries. Seems to me a paper coffin, but handled on a firm tray until the final resting place (sort of like a cupcake) would be better.

    Alpaca wool/fibre would be even more comfortable. Qiviut on the other hand is even softer and doesn’t shrink or stretch. A qiviut shroud wouldn’t be as heavy, either.

  4. excellent! More products to the already overpriced industry that prides itself on gouging customers at the worst possible time.

  5. At the recent UK National Funeral Expo, Hainsworth paraded around a pair of coffin sales-sheep fitted with little Hainsworth billboard shirties.

    Poor taste? Or pure genius? Given the audience, I think they appreciated the effort.

  6. #4 “Green” Caskets are almost always very inexpensive to the consumer. Traditional stamped steel caskets do have a huge mark up (I have read up to 600 times the production cost) that can really break the bank, and be immoral, but “Green” caskets have a very low margin and are usually made by small shops and individuals that are doing it as a labor of love. That being said I don’t know about this company. But “Green” Burial is never about “gouging customers at the worst possible time”.

  7. The more wood that is bought on the market the more that lumber companies will plant trees to renew stocks. The lumber industry needs to have more sales not less. The less wood is used the sooner land owners will choose to change the land use from growing trees to something more economical.

    So if you want more trees buy more wood products. Especially wood from the USA where the practice of replanting is standard.

  8. Antinous/Moderator@1: I wouldn’t consider cremation in general to be very eco-friendly. All that compost going into air pollution. And it’s even worse if the decedent has been embalmed. Course that’s true with burial as well.

    MPB@4: I would think with the amount of resources needed to make a sheep as opposed to something lower on the food chain, like a plant, that wool wouldn’t be so eco-friendly.

    Wouldn’t the best solution be reusable coffins? Just use them for the wake and funeral and get buried without one, no?

  9. The most recent Walrus mag had a short article about a newish trend for dealing with the dead: freeze in nitrogen, smash into fragments, remove the metallic bits and the inter how you like.

  10. Awesome. Yet another way for funeral homes to rape the bereaved family during their time of loss.
    If you really want to do the right thing, get cremated. That way your family doesn’t go into debt to bury your decomposing hunk of carbon based material.

  11. Would it be less eco-friendly to bury a body without coffin or any added accoutrements?

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