The first-ever living coffin has been made of mushroom mycelium. Designer Bob Hendrikx says that the mushroom fiber coffin will give human nutrients back to nature.
‘The living cocoon’ has been designed by Hendrikx and his team at the Loop, a start-up. This mushroom fiber coffin will help the body to decompose more efficiently and enrich the surrounding soil, thus nourishing plants and trees that grow around it.
The first of the mushroom fiber coffins designed by Loop was used at a funeral recently in the Netherlands.
The mushroom fiber coffin helps people to literally return to nature and helps enrich the soil instead of polluting the surrounding soil. Hendrikx calls the mushroom coffin ‘nature’s recycler.’ It efficiently converts waste materials into nutrients that benefit the surrounding environment.
The mushroom fiber coffin takes a mere 7 days to grow with the help of totally natural materials and doesn’t use any artificial light or electricity. It is fast composting and is made of fiber that comprises the underground portion of fungi.
Hendrikx says that though he could not be present at the funeral, he had spoken with a member of the affected family. He had lost a family member but was glad that the mushroom fiber coffin had enabled him to return her to nature where she would be living as a tree. He had called it a ‘hopeful conversation.’
Read: Human Composting: Turn Your Final Rest Into A Gift For The Environment
The designer, 26, lives in Delft and told the media that their creation, named Living Cocoon helps people to return to nature and help to enrich the surrounding soil in the process.
Hendrix said that mycelium neutralizes toxins and gives food to plants and trees that grow around it. Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus, a network of fungal threads called hyphae. They grow mostly underground but can also thrive in other places, such as rotting trees.
Hendrikx says that its fibers can be used to create various other products, including clothes, packaging materials, and food.
Mushroom Fiber Coffin Quickens The Decomposition Of The Body
Mycelium helps in converting the waste product into nutrients that enrich the environment. This mushroom fiber coffin helps us to enrich the earth quickly and acts as nutrients.
The normal process of decomposition in a wooden cask takes over a decade. The use of metals and varnished wood in making a casket and the synthetic clothing used slows down the process.
But the mushroom fiber coffin made of mycelium gets absorbed into the earth within 4 to 6 weeks. The total process of decomposition is completed within 2 to 3 years.
Loop has teamed up with researchers to keep track of the effect of introducing human bodies into the soil. Hendrikx says it is necessary to convince policymakers to help human bodies to transform polluted areas by using human bodies to infuse nutrients into the soil.
Hendrikx’s startup has already made around 10 coffins that cost around $2,343 each on the Loop website. He has collaborated with a couple of funeral cooperatives in The Hague. The rates are expected to fall considerably as production picks up. Hendrikx is hopeful that the mushroom fiber coffin made of mycelium mat may become the new normal.
It takes a few weeks for the moist mycelium mat to ‘grow’ into a coffin. It is then dried through a natural process. Once the coffin is buried in the soil, it returns to life, starting the process of decomposition of both the human body and the mushroom fiber coffin.
Read: Biodegradable Burial Pods Are Transforming Human Bodies Into Trees
In the US alone. Cemeteries use up to 827,060 gallons (3.13 million liters) of embalming fluid that include formaldehyde, a probable human carcinogen, that can cause cancer. Additionally, 30M board feet of hardwood is used for caskets. 2,700 tons of bronze and copper, 14,000 tons of steel, and 1,600,000 tons of concrete are the other materials that are used every year.