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Re Purpose Coffins?

Last month I wrote about environmental options within the funeral service. This week I came across possibly one of the most sensible environmental options available and it’s been right in front of us all the time! re purpose coffins!

The coffin manufacturing process has come a long way over the years, experiencing a remarkable transformation. In the past, making caskets was a laborious task that demanded immense skills and craftsmanship. While thinking about those times might bring a flood of memories, recalling the process of bending the shoulders of coffins that involved using hot water can be an absolute joy. In those days, materials that were used were limited to solid timber, which made the whole process challenging, time-consuming, and costly.

Timber, or wood waste, that ends up in landfills can have various environmental and economic consequences. Here are some potential outcomes:

  1. Decomposition and Methane Emission: When wood waste decomposes in a landfill, it can produce methane gas. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Some landfills have systems to capture and utilize methane for energy, but not all landfills are equipped with such mechanisms.

  2. Waste of Resources: Timber is a valuable resource that can be recycled or repurposed. When it ends up in a landfill, it represents a wasted opportunity to make use of the material. Recycling or reusing wood can help conserve forests and reduce the demand for new timber.

  3. Space Occupancy: Timber waste takes up valuable space in landfills. Landfill space is limited, and excessive use of landfills can contribute to land scarcity issues. Finding sustainable ways to manage wood waste is important for reducing the overall burden on landfill capacity.

  4. Environmental Impact: The decomposition of wood waste in landfills can lead to the generation of leachate, a liquid that can contain pollutants. If not properly managed, leachate can contaminate soil and water, posing environmental hazards.

  5. Alternative Uses: Wood waste can be recycled or used for various purposes. It can be chipped for use in landscaping, converted into wood chips or pellets for biomass energy production, or used in the production of composite materials. Utilizing timber waste in these ways can contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy.

However, tremendous progress has been made in the coffin manufacturing industry thanks to technology. Computerised cutting machines have succeeded in replacing the traditional methods of production, and coffin manufacturers have access to a wide range of timber variants nowadays, which makes the manufacturing process efficient and faster. With every positive technological development, there arise some key challenges. For instance, the disposal of waste material poses an environmental hazard. However, RH Minter, a family-owned casket manufacturer located in Melbourne, is revolutionizing the repurposing of waste materials into eco-friendly, low-cost coffins. RH Minter takes advantage of waste materials such as offcuts, damaged timbers, or veneers, which would otherwise end up in landfills. While their product may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they are making an important contribution to environmental preservation.

Call us today for more information on re purpose coffins

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Robert Nelson Managing Director
Robert Nelson is a 5th Generation funeral director. He is Managing Director of Robert Nelson Funerals and ABC Cremations, based in Moorabbin, Victoria, Australia. he is past deputy Chairman of The Australian Institute of Embalmers, Past President of The Australian Funeral Directors Association (Victorian Division) and Past National Councillor of The Australian Funeral Directors Association and Member of The British Institute of Embalmers.