Contemplating a cardboard coffin? Here’s everything you need to know: Plus a 10 step factsheet
Are you set on simplicity? Do you believe biodegradable is better? Could your coffin choice help you through the grieving process?
A cardboard coffin may sound like an unconventional choice but once we’ve shared the benefits and opportunities offered by this alternative to a typical wooden coffin, you may realise it is your best choice.
Check out our ‘Cardboard coffins factsheet’ and our guide below for more info.
Cardboard Coffins - Are a growing trend
In considering a cardboard coffin you are not alone. According to Sun Life, Cost of dying report the Eco funerals grew from 7% to over 9% in the last year alone. At the heart of those arrangements are people seeking affordability, an eco option for friends and family and the ability to personalise a funeral with their wider community.
Cardboard coffins are suitable for burial and cremation and Willows range of cardboard coffins are widely accepted by crematoriums and burial sites across the UK, including woodland and eco-cemeteries.
While other eco-coffins are made from, Pine, Willow, Wicker, Bamboo, and Banana leaves, none can beat the price point and personalisation options of cardboard.
Personalising a cardboard coffin may offer an opportunity for cathartic creativity
A growing number of people are opting to reflect the deceased’s identity in their choice of coffin, often personalising cardboard coffins with their community.
Through the hands-on experience of expressing love and grief the personalisation process may help us process our emotions while honouring the deceased.
This can be a participatory event with friends and family, or a quiet meditative act by a few people. Those paying their respects often leave heart-warming messages and attach mementoes, keepsakes, photographs and flowers to the coffin. Personalisation shifts the cardboard coffin from being simply a box into a living memorial for the loved.
Kate Dyer and Kate Tym are two local celebrants, who launched the UK’s first ‘Coffin Club’, a social event created to help people decorate their own bespoke coffins.
“There are actually very few rules around funerals,” Kate Tym, pitches in, “and having a personalised coffin is a really special way to reflect the uniqueness of the person inside.”
Rosie Inman-Cook heads the Natural Death Centre a organisation campaigning for more transparency in funeral and dying. Rosie is a well known advocate for the personalisation of funerals.
“A plain cardboard coffin can be transformed into a message clad and flower-festooned work of art. This can be especially helpful if there are bereaved young children who can become more accustomed to the coffin in the lead-up to the funeral.”
Rosie Inman-Cook, Natural Death Centre
For adornment and personalisation, cardboard coffins offer endless possibilities. Watercolours, crayons and water-based felt-tip markers can be used to create decorations without harmful chemicals while, notes, blessings or photos can be affixed with non-toxic glue.
Cardboard Coffin Prices - The most cost-effective option?
Although cardboard coffins offer great affordability, some highly customised cardboard coffins can be as expensive as traditional caskets here’s our handy guide to cardboard coffin price ranges and models.
The Cheapest Cardboard Coffin
- £160 plus £65 delivery
Online, ebay provides the cheapest coffin we've found. If you are thinking of purchasing from the platform we suggest you consider the following:
Things to consider when ordering a cardboard coffin
Does the coffin have certification guaranteeing it can carry a specific weight?
Is the coffin supplied with a nameplate? Some funeral directors will prefer an engraved nameplate, its worth checking with your funeral organiser.
Is the coffin going to be carried? If so are the handles of your coffin weight bearing? Always check with your potential retailer.
Is the coffin supplied with a liner? The purpose of a liner is to provide an aesthetic enhancement to the coffin. Note that most liners are not waterproof which is important to consider if you intend on embalming the deceased. It’s also good understand if the linear is bio-degradable as this maybe an important factor for woodland or eco funerals.
Where was it the coffin made?
People often purchase cardboard coffins to reduce harm to the environment, if your purchase is being shipped from China you can expect the product to have a large carbon footprint potentially counteracting any environmental savings. Understanding where your coffin was manufactured will help you to make an informed decision.
Mid-price Cardboard Coffin
‘100% Satisfaction or your money back guarantee’.
Tested for strength by the 'Coffin, Casket and Shroud Association' (CCSA)
Load-bearing rope handles (important if you’re considering carrying the coffin).
And are manufactured in the UK to be shipped directly to your home or a Funeral Director.
If you’re considering a purchase online ask if the retailer will make contact with your Funeral Director or organiser. This is a useful step to help establish that:
The coffin will arrive at a suitable time for the Funeral Organiser.
The coffin is appropriately sized for the deceased person.
The delivery details of the purchase are correct.
At Willow we have found this process extremely important as some Funeral Directors have separate delivery addresses to their stated location, we also understand that details can be lost or mis-communicated during what can be a busy period, having contact with your Funeral Director allows us to make sure your order arrives promptly and hassle free. If your coffin retailer doesn’t provide this service make sure to double check the details mentioned above before making an order.
Coloured and Pictured coffins
£250 - £600
If you’re looking for a coloured cardboard coffin there are lots of options available (Check out our article dedicated to Colourful cardboard coffin here). Today’s technology allows for cardboard coffins in almost every design imaginable and although there is a cost premium for colourful cardboard coffins most options are still vastly cheaper than their wooden, veneer or cloth alternatives.
For custom, picture coffins check out www.creativecoffins.co.uk.
Creative coffins can create a coffin design specifically for you, or you can use tools like Greenfield coffins coffin designers to apply your own photos and create a unique coffin of your design.
Cardboard Coffins - Greening your Final Footprint
Burials and cremations both use resources and energy that can have a negative impact on the environment.
Cardboard has a far lower carbon footprint and overall environmental impact, both in production and in use, than chipboard, wood, or metal. Some traditional coffins are made using toxins like formaldehyde and transported over long distances, while the metal and plastic fittings that can come at an extra cost are thrown away after cremation or buried when they could be recycled.
Cardboard coffins typically utilise recycled materials (Willows range of cardboard coffins are made of 80% recycled material) to ensure that waste and toxins are minimised.
Cardboard Coffins: Good for the earth, your wallet, & your family
Cardboard coffins are an excellent option that captures the trifecta of sustainability, affordability, and customisability. Although families are sometimes shy about choosing such a modest material for a coffin, at the end of the process, we find they are always proud of their choice -especially if it involved getting to create something special in honour of the deceased.
If you are seeking a coffin for yourself or a loved one that is affordable, environmentally friendly, and offers great options for personalisation, hopefully, we’ve convinced you to consider a cardboard coffin. The growing popularity of cardboard coffins is a testament to our evolving expectations for our funeral, and is at least one trend the earth benefits from to boot.
Do you have a question about cardboard coffins?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll do our best to help out.
By Carla Tanguay
Cardboard coffins factsheet
1. Do I have to buy a coffin from a Funeral Director?
No. You can purchase the coffin online at Willlow and have it sent to a Funeral Director or another location.
2. Can a cardboard coffin be cremated?
3. Can I be buried in a cardboard coffin?Yes, and some natural cemeteries even prefer cardboard to more conventional options.
4. Can a cardboard coffin be carried?
Yes, but make sure the coffin has functional load-bearing handles.
5. Can I write on and attach items to a cardboard coffin?
Yes, cardboard coffins can be painted, have notes and last words written on them or pictures with your memories attached. However weighty items may damage the structure of the coffin.
6. How much do cardboard coffins cost?
Cardboard coffins in the UK generally range from £200-£500. Traditional coffins range from £400 to over £5k.
7. Where can I buy cardboard coffins?
While we always advise people to shop around, our online store offers a range of cardboard coffins accredited and manufactured in the UK.
8. Are cardboard coffins the cheapest?Typically, yes. Other coffins such as Wicker and woven come close. But often price isn’t the primary reason for choosing cardboard--its other benefits are substantial.
9. Are cardboard coffins of good quality?
Generally yes, but always check for accreditation of the maximum weight a coffin can carry.\
10. What coffin size is appropriate?
We recommend a coffin that 3-4 inches taller than person you are buying for.