Our materials

The materials we use are all carefully chosen for their sustainability as well as their low impact during harvesting. As with all natural materials, colours may vary slightly.

Our bamboo, banana and pandanus products are made in World Fair Trade Organisation accredited workshops. Ecoffins has been a member of the World Fair Trade Organisation for over 11 years. The production helps to overcome poverty and makes a real difference to people’s lives.

Bamboo

Bamboo

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth with a typical growth rate of 3 – 10 cm per day but in good conditions some species can also grow up to nearly a metre per day. The bamboo selected for making our coffins is coming from the species Phyllostachus Pubescens, also known as “builders bamboo” in Asia, as it is used in making architectural structures such as houses, bridges or for scaffolding. Its special tubular hollow structure gives it a strength-to-weight ratio which outperforms most other materials, even steel, whilst being incredibly flexible at the same time. As a bamboo grove also produces 30% more oxygen than trees, it is becoming increasingly popular as an environmentally friendly material.

Several processes are needed to transform a natural bamboo culm into a lasting building material, which mainly involves the removal of starch, often splitting the cone into strips and the correct process of drying.

Weaving a banana casket lid

Banana

The versatile Banana plant is best known for its edible fruits and is often mistaken for a tree, as their main stem can reach a height of up to 8 metres. They are in fact the world’s largest known herb, and the stem is not made of wood, but tightly coiled leaves. The large and waterproof leaves of the banana also have many uses: Fresh leaves are often used to wrap food or as plates. The dried leaves can also be used for their medical purposes. In order to use it as a building material the stem is being harvested after the banana plant has produced its crop, then dried, cut again into strings which are then twisted into a cord. The outer part of the stem gives a browner cord, the inner part a lighter one. The flexible cord is woven around a natural cane and rattan framework, thus giving the whole product stability.

Pandanus

Pandanus

The Pandanus species grow in tropical to subtropical climate and can vary from a medium shrub size to 20 m tall trees, producing fruits which look similar to pineapples. It is a prolific and fast growing plant which is easy to sustain. Almost all parts of the Pandanus plant have its uses. The leaves add flavour and colour to dishes such as the “Pandan cake”, but are more commonly used for crafts. The leaves are being sliced into strips, dried and twisted into cords, which also can be dyed using water-based colours. The Pandanus cord has a similar appearance to what is commonly known as “sea grass”. However, as it grows on land its harvesting process does not affect any maritime wildlife.

Pine

Pine

Pine is a native tree in our Northern Hemisphere and the pine we use is a rapidly growing FSC certified variety, which comes from well-managed forests, where new trees are planted to replace those that are harvested.Trees play an essential role in capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. As trees grow, they capture CO2 from the atmosphere at a rate of 1 tonne for every m3 of growth, as well as producing 0.7 tonnes of oxygen. When planting new trees even more CO2 is stored. Pine grows up to 25 metres in height and our species can be harvested at less than 7 years.

Willow

Willow

Willow is a deciduous tree found primarily in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Almost all willows take root very readily, either from cuttings or even where broken branches are left lying on the ground. This tree has the unique ability to regenerate from the same crown for 30 to 40 years. Once harvested, it can grow back to the same height in a year. Some colour effects are achieved naturally by drying, boiling and/or stripping the strands of their bark. Other colour effects can be achieved by dyeing the strands in a more prominent colour, made from natural dye (see Rainbow coffin).

Cardboard

Cardboard

Our Cardboard coffins are manufactured in the UK from specially constructed corrugated cardboard materials, which in turns are produced from unbleached pulp containing a minimum of 70% recycled paper, plus wood pulp sourced from reputable sustainable forests. These coffins can carry up to 23 stones (about 150 Kg.). Only natural starch based glues are used in the making of our cardboard coffins. The handles are made from natural woven cotton. The design is printed onto the coffin; therefore these cardboard coffins are 100% biodegradable, as no plastic is used. When cremated, these cardboard coffins have a 90% lower carbon emission than a standard chipboard coffin.