Imagine living like a tree…after you die.
A Dutch start-up has created a biodegradable “living coffin,” which it says can convert a decomposing human body into key nutrients for plants.
Inventor Bob Hendrikx is a researcher at Delft University in the Netherlands.
"This is world's first living coffin, it allows humans not to pollute the soil but actually to enrich it."
The company, Loop, says the casket is made of mycelium, the underground root structure of mushrooms.
"So this is mycelium and this is the mushroom, which is just the vegetative part of actually the organism. And mycelium is nature's biggest recycler, so it's continuously looking for food and transforming it into new plants nutrition."
"So, on the inside you see a bed of moss, which makes sure a lot of micro-organisms are in here and help with the decomposition process together with the mycelium, so the body gets faster returned to nature where it will not pollute but actually enrich the environment, because mycelium has the natural function to transform, slash neutralize, toxins in the body and in the soil into healthy nutrients."
Hendrikx says the process by which a human body in a traditional coffin becomes compost can often take 10 to 20 years.
Once buried, a mycelium coffin will be absorbed back into the soil within a month or six weeks.
Decomposition of the body is then estimated at two to three years.
“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."
Loop has so far sold 10 living coffins for 1,500 euros a piece.
Mark Terlage, a funeral undertaker in the town of Veenendal, said the family of a 99-year-old man had ordered a 'living coffin' for his funeral.
"This one has been ordered by a family this week, tomorrow the funeral will take place, a man of 99 years, who has always been very involved with nature, a very religious man moreover, and the family found this very suitable for him.”