In the Netherlands, an 82- year old woman was laid to rest in a coffin made entirely of fast-composting mushroom fibers that will considerably increase the health of the soil in the years that follow. Dubbed the ‘Living Cocoon’, this coffin is one of the major steps towards ecological conscious generation. Created by bio-designer Bob Hendrikx from the University of Delft, the Living Cocoon is made by growing mycelium around the coffin-shaped fame. Mycelium is the part of a mushroom that is not visible through naked eyes – the underground fibrous network that makes up most of the life form.
Three major things support life: first is hydrocarbons to fabricate energy used for various metabolic activities; then amino acids, generally known as ‘building block’ of life; and an adequate supply of water. These elements of life are not waste, they can re-create life, instead of misspending them. In contrast to the years it can take a conventional coffin – with artificial cloth fibers, laminated wood, and metal components – to break down local newspaper covering the funeral claimed that the Living Cocoon “takes one week to grow and then, containing the body of the deceased, takes an estimated two to three years to decompose”, replenishing nutrients to the soil.
“This coffin means we actually feed the earth with our bodies. We are nutrients, not waste”, Hendrikx said. Currently, the coffin costs around $1,350, but Hendrikx hopes that as more and more people become interested, he can drive the cost down. Currently Living Cocoon’s parent company, Loop is actually conducting research on the impact of human bodies on soil quality, with the hope of “convincing policymakers to convert polluted areas into healthy forests – with our bodies as nutrients.” Hendrikx added, “I imagine a day where every coffin used on earth is made of mycelium, allowing our species that has grown to dominate every corner of the world to constantly give back to the soil we owe so much of our prosperity to.”
ARTICLE: PATEL CHAITANYA
SCIENCE/HEALTH EDITOR: KYLE SMITH
PHOTO CREDITS: BOB HENDRIKX/LOOP