The concept of the traditional coffin is being constantly challenged as families continue to seek out options that better reflect the personality of their loved one. In addition, greater environmental awareness means the number of non-traditional coffins is increasing every year. So, if you’re looking for something different or very personal, what should you consider? Tori Bush, our Sales Manager, shares some thoughts on the alternative options available.
Coffins made from alternative materials
There was a time where wood always meant solid wood when it came to coffins, but as the price of hardwood has increased, more and more coffins have been made using a veneer applied to a more cost-effective base material (such as pine) or MDF style composite board. As well as providing the base for wood veneer and wood effect coffins, MDF is also a material in its own right and is viewed by many as a more sustainable option than real wood. In a similar vein, cardboard has become quite popular in its pure form, and can also work well as the base for more decorative and highly personalised designs.
Nevertheless, solid wood, wood effect and veneer coffins and caskets still tend to maintain the most traditional look and feel, and are typically still designed with mouldings and metal fixings.
If you’re keen to move away from very traditional options, then you might wish to consider using more natural fibres and materials such as willow, bamboo or seagrass, which all continue growing in popularity.
For some, the choice of natural fibres is an environmental one, but for others it can be because it offers a softer look and feel, with fewer hard edges. Hand made using centuries old weaving techniques, and with options that include the use of living plants for a truly natural look, natural coffins do still command a premium in terms of price. Some slightly more cost-effective options do exist, but here in the UK the source materials tend to be sustainably grown, with many coffins produced in more artisanal surroundings. This supports the sense that natural coffins can better echo many people’s moral and ethical viewpoints.
Colour coffins and picture coffins
Whilst many families are comfortable with a formal, traditional format at the funeral, some want to create more of a celebration of life which allows a loved one’s personality to shine through. In these situations, painted or picture coffins are the ideal choice. Made from cardboard and/or sustainable materials such as MDF, these coffins can be individually designed using favourite colours, particular pictures or a decoration that reflects hobbies, interests or even their favourite sports team. As well as individually designed coffins, some natural and woven coffins can also be sprayed to a particular colour.
Today there is a wide-ranging selection of alternative coffin options, enabling the right choice to be made for you and your family. As one of the UK’s leading suppliers of coffins, urns, memorials and keepsakes we can help guide you through the choices available.