“How Do You Want to Be Remembered?”: This Company Develops Biodegradable Coffins Made from Mushrooms
One company in the Netherlands created what’s come to be known as the Loop coffin made of mushroom mycelium that biodegrades in just 30 to 45 days. The creator, TU Delft researcher Bob Hendrikx, woked with funeral directors to learn as much as he could about the burial process before designing the coffin made of natural materials.
In our 200.000 years of existence, mankind has developed a relationship of parasitism with Mother Nature. Our current behavior results in resource depletion and ecosystem loss: in some places around the world more than 40% of the biodiversity has already been lost. Even after death we leave a scar on this beautiful planet. Mother nature has been leading the way for 3.8 billion years before us and can help us to do so in the future. What if we could participate in nature’s end-of-life cycle?
Contrary to nature’s beautiful end-of-life cycle, people are not only parasitizing during life, but even after death they leave a scar on this beautiful planet. To be buried, we cut down a tree, work it intensively and try to shut ourselves off as well as possible from microorganisms. And for those that don’t want to be buried, we waste our nutrient-rich body by burning it with cremation, polluting the air and ignoring the potential of our human body. It’s as if we see ourselves as waste, while we can be a valuable part of nature.
We have drifted so far that now we are polluting even when we die. Thanks to our modern lifestyle, the average human body contains 219 chemicals that can endanger ecosystems. Current burial methods can lead to soil degradation and groundwater pollution. In some cemeteries the soil quality can be compared to that of a landfill. Our relationship with nature is broken, but there is hope.
While most researchers had their eyes on the plants and organisms above ground, recent discoveries show that earth’s most crucial creatures live underneath us. Over 92% of all plant species rely on an organism called mycelium. This underground fungal network connects the roots of plants to form ‘Nature’s Internet’. Not only does it share nutrients, it’s also able to communicate and distribute information. It’s this network that is the driving force in natures end-of-lifecycle, due to its ability to recycle organic matter into key nutrients for new seedlings to flourish.
The Loop Living Cocoon not only breaks itself down in 45 days, it also hosts bacteria and microorganisms that neutralize toxins in both the body and surrounding soil, enabling people to enrich and clean the soil with their own nutrients. Your own body will increase biodiversity and allow new seedlings to thrive.
From graveyard to forest. How do you want to be remembered?