A pretty morbid topic I know but I’ve always been amazed at the elaborate and ‘over the top’ design of coffins when they are just put in the ground or, worse still, burnt. When you think about it they are usually made up of a lot of different materials. You’ve got the timber (and who knows if this is forested sustainably), some sort of stain on the timber, metal handles & hinges, plating on the metal parts, fabric on the inside and padding for comfort (is this really necessary?). And that’s not including all the adhesive and fasteners used. And what about the carbon miles that the different materials have travelled.

To be honest, I really don’t think I’ll care when I’m dead if I’m buried in a comfy padded, ornate timber coffin with gold trim handles or an old bed sheet. It’s not like I’ll know.

Instead put me in a recycled cardboard coffin. What a great idea. And I love the thought of being placed in a plain cardboard coffin and having people decorate it with farewell messages, photos and memories. Isn’t this a more sustainable idea and it could even help with the grieving process?

And it seems if you are in the market for a cardboard coffin today there are quite a few suppliers and a number of different styles. There is even the option of having them custom printed. Apparently some people even decorate their coffins themselves before they pass away and keep them in the garage. I’m not sure I want to keep my coffin at home and have a constant reminder that one day I will die, but thumbs up for their preparedness.

So next time you are out shopping for a coffin perhaps you can consider a cardboard variety and help to reduce the carbon footprint that you’ll leave behind.

Lorrin Windahl is a Senior Project Designer with CobaltNiche. This article first appeared on Less by Design and is republished with permission.