Advantages and Limitations of Cardboard Caskets

It is strange but true, cardboard caskets are now a new alternative to traditional coffins. After nearly 30 years of acceptance in Northern European countries, their popularity is now on the rise in the USA also.

Following a recent post on What Is the Most Environmentally Friendly Funeral, we will now have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of cardboard casket.

Advantages of Cardboard casket:

Environmentally friendly manufacturing

The manufacturing of cardboard caskets is much simpler than that of wooden caskets. It is also more ecological:

The different elements of the box are assembled by folding and gluing.
These elements are made of recycled cardboard.
For the assembly, the glues used are made from corn and potato starch and are totally biodegradable.

Good to know: it is entirely possible to assemble a cardboard casket yourself. These can be delivered in pieces, with instructions. No additional tools are required.

A unique casket

Cardboard caskets have the advantage of being customizable. It is indeed possible to:

choose motives, drawings, paintings, or inscriptions to decorate the outside of the coffin;
improve the interior by adding cushions or fleece.

Attention: the law imposes characteristics of resistance, waterproofing, the biodegradability of the casket when it is intended for burial.

Cardboard casket: light and solid

A cardboard casket weighs three times less than a wooden casket:

Its weight is about 10 kilos, compared to the traditional 50 kilos.
However, depending on the model, a cardboard casket can withstand loads of 130 to 200 kilos.

Competitive prices

These new caskets cost about 5 times less than traditional caskets:

The initial prices start at $100.
The average price is $300.
Quality and personalized cardboard casket can cost up to $600.
Solid wood caskets, on the other hand, are sold at prices ranging from $800 to $3,000!

Cardboard casket: an ecological solution

Greener materials

To make a cardboard casket, biodegradable recycled cardboard and non-polluting glues are used. This allows us to respect the environment, whatever the method of burial chosen:

In case of burial:
◦ The bio-degradation of the casket takes only one year, whereas that of a wooden casket can last up to 10 or 15 years.
◦ The amount of wood used to make a cardboard casket is divided by 8 compared to a traditional casket.

In the case of cremation (when burned), a cardboard casket contains fewer toxic substances than a traditional casket:
◦ no fluorine ;
◦ low in nitrogen oxide ;
◦ no emanation of heavy metals.

All in all, making cardboard caskets would save:

thousands of km² of a forest;
millions of healthy trees;
millions of cubic meters of water;
millions of liters of fuel oil.

Cardboard coffins: limits

Despite the approval of the Ministry of the Interior, cardboard caskets are prohibited in some crematoria:

As these caskets do not participate in their own combustion, it is necessary to inject gas to complete it. It is then more polluting. The consumption necessary to burn a cardboard coffin is thus higher than that necessary to burn a wooden coffin (10 kW more).
Once incinerated, cardboard caskets emit as much dust as a wooden casket.

Please note: if cardboard caskets comply with the standards, crematoriums are required to accept them.

Good to know: in Scandinavia, coffins made from papier-mâché are currently being tested. They could be another environmentally friendly alternative to traditional wooden coffins.

Hoping that this post has given you a complete vision to understand the subject and the essential information to make the right choices.