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Biodegradable 'living coffin' made of fungus fully returns body to the Earth

Posted at 12:46 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 12:47:51-04

A Dutch start-up has created a biodegradable "living coffin" made of a fungus, instead of wood, which it says can convert a decomposing human body into key nutrients for plants.

The company, Loop, says its casket is made of mycelium, the underground root structure of mushrooms, and filled with a bed of moss to stimulate decomposition.

Mycelium also devours toxins and turns them into nutrients.

The coffin is grown like a plant within the space of a week at the company's lab at the Technical University of Delft by mixing mycelium with wood chips in the mold of a coffin.

After the mycelium has grown through the wood chips, the coffin is dried and has enough strength to carry a weight of up to 440 lbs.

Once buried, interaction with ground water will dissolve the coffin within 30 to 45 days.

Decomposition of the body is estimated to take only 2 to 3 years, instead of the 10 to 20 years it takes with traditional coffins.

Loop has so far grown and sold 10 living coffins for $1,700 a piece.