The funeral industry is experiencing a monumental shift. Seattle opened the first human composting site in December 2020, and in September 2020, the first funeral using a mushroom coffin was held in the Netherlands.
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 mushroom coffin the process is expedited, taking just 45 days.
One mushroom coffin can be made in just seven days in a lab thanks to a mix of mycelium, wet sawdust sprayed with a secret fluid that helps the growing process, Business Insider explains in a video.
While made from mushroom fibers, the coffins are very solid and can hold up to 450 lbs of weight.
The mushroom coffins made by Loop are priced at $1,700 each if you need it now, or 1,400 if you plan ahead and order in advance.
A version of this article was previously published on September 15, 2020, and was updated on December 2, 2021, with more information.