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All about cardboard coffins

Cardboard coffin from Rest Funerals
A decorated cardboard coffin from Rest Funerals

Whether you opt for burial or cremation, when a loved one dies, you will need to consider what type of coffin or casket is going to be form part of the service. A small group of funeral directors will try and sell you the most expensive coffin your family can afford.

Thankfully, a faster-growing group of next-generation funeral providers are giving families what they want and this often includes low cost, durable, engineered cardboard coffins which help lower funeral costs.

"Simple" Daisybox cardboard coffins have become very popular amongst families in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and the UK over the last 10 years. Being four-sided, caskets are more easily folded and transported and delivered flat-packed to funeral homes, as compared to more complex six-sided cardboard coffins. A Daisybox cardboard coffin is asssembled in <60 seconds by one person. In this article, we will refer to Daisybox as coffins, a term more commonly known to Australian families.

How strong are cardboard coffins?

Most funeral directors require suppliers to show proof that their designs are NATA-tested to well-over 120kg. Some models, from manufacturers including Daisybox, have been tested to 240kg load, where they still remain intact. This is because the design incorporates three layers of tough virgin-grade cardboard in the two sidewalls and two layers in the base.

A good cardboard coffin design will eliminate all joins in the structure between the sidewalls and base to prevent walls splitting under load.

Cardboard coffin prices

Well-design cardboard coffins vary in price from totally free, when packaged with a range of other services, right up to $2,500 or more for a high-end honeycomb design with woodgrain finish or graphic print turning the casket into a picture that reflects the life of the departed.

The most common retail price for a Daisybox cardboard casket in Australia is $300 to $400, plus delivery costs. That's considered an affordable price by many families as it is approximately 75% less than a conventional MDF coffin with woodgrain paper laminate.

Are cardboard coffins legal?

Cardboard caskets are legally acceptable for both burial and cremation in Australia, UK, South Africa, Philippines, New Zealand, Canada and many states in the USA.

How sustainable is a cardboard coffin?

Cardboard coffins are not made with formaldehyde resin like that used to make MDF, particleboard and plywood. Starch resins in virgin-grade FSC papers and materials used in cardboard allow the board to very cleanly incinerate under flame cremation or to biodegrade in a natural environment after burial.

Up to 900% additional CO2 transport emissions-savings are generated given some design-patented cardboard caskets are shipped flat-packed to the funeral service arrangers site, whereas engineered wood caskets are all shipped pre-assembled.

What do facility-owners think about cardboard coffins?

May people, including hospital and hospice works, quietly appreciate cardboard coffins for several reasons, including their environmental benefits, affordability, and ease of handling.

  1. Environmental benefits: Cardboard coffins are made from renewable resources like recycled paper and pulp, making them a more sustainable option compared to traditional wooden or metal caskets. Their biodegradable nature reduces the environmental impact, which is a significant consideration for environmentally conscious crematorium owners.

  2. Affordability: Cardboard coffins are generally less expensive than traditional caskets, making them a cost-effective alternative for families on a budget. Crematorium owners appreciate being able to offer a more affordable option to their clients without compromising on quality or dignity.

  3. Ease of handling: Cardboard coffins are lighter in weight compared to traditional coffins made from wood or metal, making them easier to handle and transport. This is particularly beneficial for crematorium staff, as it reduces the physical strain associated with moving and positioning caskets for cremation. Traditional coffins are very heavy to carry.

  4. Efficient cremation process: Cardboard coffins burn more efficiently and completely than wooden caskets, leaving behind less residue. This simplifies the cremation process and reduces the time and energy required for cleanup.

Can one apply artwork to cardboard coffins?

Yes, you can certainly decorate a cardboard coffin. In fact, one of the advantages of choosing a cardboard casket is the opportunity for personalization and creativity. Your funeral arranger or funeral director will assist with ideas if needed.

There are several ways to decorate a cardboard coffin and honor a loved one:

  1. Painting: You can use acrylic or water-based paints to create designs, patterns, or meaningful images directly on the casket. This can be done by family members, friends, or even a professional artist.

  2. Drawing: Markers or colored pencils can also be used to draw pictures, write messages, or add other personal touches to the cardboard casket.

  3. Collages: Family and friends can create a collage using photographs, letters, or other memorabilia to adorn the casket. This can be done by attaching the items directly to the cardboard or by creating a separate collage to drape over the casket during the ceremony.

  4. Fabric covers: You can drape a beautifully designed fabric or a favorite textile of the deceased over the cardboard casket to add color and elegance.

  5. Flowers and natural elements: Decorate the casket with flowers, greenery, or other natural elements to create a beautiful and eco-friendly tribute.

When decorating a cardboard coffin, it's important to use materials that are biodegradable or environmentally friendly, especially if the casket will be used for a green burial.

Are cardboard coffins legal in Australia?

Yes they are. Since 2017, over 25,000 Daisybox coffins have been used by families around the world. This includes in both privately-owned funeral homes and government-owned crematoriums. If your funeral arranger refuses to offer you a cardboard coffin, it's likely becuase they've never seen one and are either nervous to change old habits, or it's because their owner prefers to only sell higher value wood, timber or metal caskets, which generate much higher profit margins. Shop around as you will find one funeral arranger near you more than willing to give you what you want.

Australian Regulations surrounding cardboard coffins

Each state has their own regulations regarding cardboard coffins. In no states, are they banned.

Will a funeral home delivery a Daisybox cardboard coffin to my home for decorating prior to a service?

Yes, most will do so, but this may involve a delivery fee. You may also collect your Daisybox flat-packed and deliver it flat-packed back to the funeral arranger in the days before the cremation or burial service.

What will my friends and family think of me if I choose a cardboard coffin?

Take a look at Daisybox on Instagram and see what over a thousand supporters say about Daisybox cardboard coffins and caskets. Also look at the Daisybox Facebook page and read the comments from families who have chosen this path of dealing with grief.

Can we adhere photographs to Daisybox cardboard coffins?

Yes you can. See below examples. You can either apply photographs or inkjet printed A4 prints top the cardboard surface using a water-based hobby glue.

A cardboard coffin with photographs glued onto the lid.
A cardboard coffin with photographs adhered to the lid.

A Daisybox cardboard coffin, decorated with photographs
A cardboard coffin from Greenhaven Funerals


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