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Go Green into that Good Night

Hong Kong's eco-friendly, reusable coffins

04·08·2014

Go Green into that Good Night

Hong Kong's eco-friendly, reusable coffins

04·08·2014

For all those hard core environmentalists, changing how you live your day to day life is of the utmost importance to help save our seemingly grim future, from the way you eat to how get your energy and how you travel. Now you can go the extra mile by sending your environmental message from the other side, in Green Life Passages’ “reusable coffins”.

Hongkongers can now be held in a coffin with a hardwood outer coffin then cremated in the inner honeycomb-core cardboard coffin so that the hardwood can be used again. It takes 26 minutes less to burn the cardboard rather than a regular coffin, therefore, it uses a lot less energy. And, if it is used just once  a day, it will save 48 cubic meters of timber in a year, enough to fill one and a half standard-sized shipping containers, according to the non-profit organization.

The difficulties lie in the stigma attached to using someone else’s coffin (it’s hardly renting a tux), but as Green Life chief executive says: “It’s just like a hospital bed. Many people pass away on that same bed and someone else will end up using it.” But as it is so unconventional, there are often concerns over the quality of the product; it’s unlikely that mourners will want to see their loved ones off in a cardboard box, no matter how eco-friendly it is. According to a Green Life poll, less than 60 percent of people are even aware of these “green” coffins.

This is not the first eco-coffin from Green Life Passage; last year they launched a coffin made from water hyacinth, an invasive plant that often chokes up China’s waterways by covering entire lakes and ponds. Green Life Passage is Hong Kong’s first eco-friendly funeral service provider. It promotes ways to reduce waste from funerals such as using old glass bottles for urns and environmentally-friendly wreaths.