In the Netherlands, a Technical University of Delft researcher has taken the green funeral trend to the next level with a mycelium coffin. Dubbed Living Cocoon, Bob Hendrikx says the mycelium vessel helps compost the body and remove toxins from soil.
Each coffin takes a week to grow, and two to three years to break down once a corpse is added. A conventional coffin takes over a decade to decompose.
“We are currently living in nature’s graveyard,” Hendrikx tells dezeen. “Our behavior is not only parasitic, it’s also short-sighted. We are degrading organisms into dead, polluting materials, but what if we kept them alive? The Living Cocoon enables people to become one with nature again, and to enrich the soil instead of polluting it.”
Mycelium converts waste materials into nutrients and can break down substances like oil, plastic and metal. “[M]ycelium was used in Chernobyl, it is utilized in Rotterdam to clean up soil, and some farmers also apply it to make the land healthy again,” he adds.
Hendrikx’s startup, called Loop, is currently testing Living Cocoon in partnership with funeral cooperatives CUVO and De Laatste Eer. Ten coffins have been produced and the first human trial began earlier this month.