Green Coffin Anyone?
Made from material such as recycled paper or chipboard, eco-coffins are easy on the environment as they spare trees from the axe. -- ST PHOTO: JOSEPH NAIR
Ever think it's a waste of good wood for it to be buried or burned as coffins? Not only is good wood wasted, there is a lot of non-biodegradable materials like plastic-linings and plastic brass-effect handles. For some, plenty of steel, copper, bronze, and other metals are buried (and wasted) along with them. Coffins are also covered with lacquers which are toxic and these toxic chemicals eventually find their way into the soil just like embalming fluid does, polluting fertile soil.
Well, it's not too late to be environmental conscious. Nor is it too early to think of what coffin you will use when your time comes. Believe it or not, green eco-friendly coffins are in market now, readily available in Singapore as well. Please read the below report from Straits Times :
Going green - coffin style
By Tania Tan
MEDICAL doctor Tan Chek Wee believes in 'going green' - he wants to make his last journey a green one. 'I've told my family that I want an eco-coffin,' said the 52-year-old, who works part-time at three non-profit clinics.
Made from material such as recycled paper or chipboard, eco-coffins are easy on the environment as they spare trees from the axe.
These green eco-friendly caskets also burn up to twice as fast as ordinary wooden coffins, which means less carbon emission. Chipboard, for instance, burns about 10 to 25 per cent faster.
Over 16,000 regular wood coffins were used here last year, with each requiring about 80kg of virgin timber to construct.
'Since I want to be cremated, I prefer not to kill a tree in the process,' said Dr Tan.
For religions which allow it, cremations are strongly encouraged here due to land scarcity, said the National Environment Agency.
Religions including Islam and Judaism require followers to bury their dead.
Eco-coffins and so-called 'green funerals' have caught on among the environmentally conscious in the United States and Britain with some opting for woodland burial sites, and using freshly planted trees instead of headstones to mark graves.
Though going green in this manner may not have quite caught on here yet, Singapore-based TentTech has already sold about 100 of its green coffins.
Produced from waste wood or timber from tree branches instead of trunks, its caskets are a more sustainable alternative to traditional coffins, said Dr Ng Khee Yang, the R&D consultant of the year-old company.
'There just isn't enough forest to supply us with wood in the long run,' he said.
But demand for eco-coffins has yet to take off here, conceded Dr Ng. Undertakers agree.
Read the full report in Monday's (07 Jan 08) edition of The Straits Times.
It is probably the last thing you can do to be green in this life. Please opt for a green coffin!