bio degradable coffin

Choosing a coffin is an important part of arranging a funeral. Not only is it the focal point for the ceremony, but it can also set the overall tone of a funeral whilst reflecting the personality and beliefs of the person who has died.

In recent years, green funerals and the use of biodegradable coffins have seen a surge in popularity. Here we will tell you more about biodegradable coffins and why they might be the right choice for you.

What is a biodegradable coffin?

Biodegradable coffins are just like traditional wooden coffins in many ways. They are a similar in size and shape, and serve the same function as any other coffin does. The main difference comes from the materials they are made from and how they are made.

Biodegradable coffins have as minimal impact on the environment as possible. This means they are made from natural and sustainable materials that are ethically sourced, and which degrade naturally in to the earth without leaving anything behind. When cremated, biodegradable coffins release much less co2 in to the atmosphere than wood or veneer coffins. Popular biodegradable materials include cardboard, bamboo, banana leaf and willow.

Biodegradable coffins will avoid the use of chemicals in the production process, ensuring the coffin wont release harmful toxins in to the earth or atmosphere. Fixtures and fittings tend to be kept to a minimum, and those that are used are fully biodegradable.

Why choose a biodegradable coffin?

As our awareness about environmental issues increases, many people are making more sustainable life choices to ensure the choices they make in death are just as impactful as the ones they make in life.

If having an environmentally friendly funeral is important to you or your loved one then choosing a biodegradable coffin is a good place to start. You can also take into consideration the personality and hobbies of the person in question. For example, passionate gardeners or lovers of nature might be well suited to a more eco-friendly coffin.

Depending on the type of funeral you are planning, having a biodegradable coffin might be a pre-requisite. At green burials (which usually take place in protected woodland or meadows) coffins must be made from biodegradable materials to ensure the natural decomposition process isn’t inhibited in any way, and nothing harmful is left behind. Different green burial sites will have different guidelines regarding the types of coffins you can have. Our team of funeral arrangers will be able to advise you on the specific requirements at each burial site. If you would like to find out how to plan an eco-friendly funeral, read our blog post.

bio degradable coffin in garden

What type of biodegradable coffin should I choose?

There are many different options available to you, covering an array of different looks and materials. Here we will discuss some of the most popular choices;


The simplest and most economical option for a biodegradable coffin is cardboard. They will often be made with recycled paper and use wood pulp sourced from sustainable forests. One of the benefits of a cardboard coffin is that you can choose to have a bolder colour if you wish, or else print a design or photos on the coffin.


Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, which makes it a very sustainable material for coffins. Many bamboo coffins use traditional skills to create a woven lattice design, which give it an attractive and decorative appearance.

Banana leaf

Banana leaf coffins are made from banana cord, which is a both a strong and flexible material. The cord is woven in to a rope and the hand woven around a frame to create a strong, stable and fully biodegradable coffin. These coffins have a subtle, rustic appearance.


Pandanus coffins come from tropical trees that a prolific growers, making them a highly renewable and sustainable material for a coffin. Pandanus coffins are made from the leaves of the plant using traditional twisting methods, and then woven around a framework. The result is a striking and lightweight biodegradable coffin.


Although willow coffins tend to be more expensive than some of the other materials, their attractive appearance makes them a popular choice in the UK. Willow coffins tend to be handcrafted using traditional weaving techniques, and with the potential to be sourced and made in the UK, they are a particularly eco-friendly choice.

These are just some of the more popular materials available to you, and there are many different biodegradable coffins to choose from. If you would like to find out how to arrange a funeral, our team of funeral arrangers will gladly support you in your research. You can reach us on 01525 372210, or alternatively book an online appointment.

Image Credits: Ecoffins, who produce many of the biodegradable coffins we supply at Dillamore Funeral Service