The funeral industry is experiencing a monumental shift. Seattle is ready to open the first human composting site in 2021, and last week in the Netherlands, the first funeral using a coffin made of compostable mushroom fibers was held.
Mycelium is the mat of fibers forming the underground part of fungi. These “living coffins” made of mycelium decompose with time, allowing people to become one with nature again.
Bo Hendriks, the founder of Loop, the startup that produced the compostable coffin dubbed “Living Cocoon,” said, “Mycelium is constantly looking for waste products — oil, plastic, metals, other pollutants — and converting them into nutrients for the environment. This coffin means we actually feed the earth with our bodies. We are nutrients, not waste.”
In a traditional coffin, a human body can take a decade to become compost. In a mycelium coffin the process is expedited, taking just two or three years.
So far the startup has made about 10 coffins total (priced at less than $1,500 each) and hopes to dramatically increase production as people grow more comfortable with the idea.