They create the first ‘living coffin’ made of mushrooms that turns the body into compost

They create the first 'living coffin' made of mushrooms that turns the body into compost
Image: Instagram

A team of Dutch researchers led by Bob Hendrikx designed an unusual biodegradable coffin capable of accelerating the body’s decomposition process

The innovative coffin, dubbed the Living Cocoon, is made from mycelium, a vegetative part of mushrooms. Hendrikx called this substance a natural recycler that neutralizes toxins.

However, the researchers note, the mycelium is capable of breaking down all kinds of substances and elements, such as oil, metal and plastic.

Therefore, the invention will help humans to “rejoin nature and enrich the soil instead of polluting it.”

The production of each coffin lasts around seven days. First, it is necessary to mix the mycelium with an organic substrate in a mold. The fungi then eat the substance, creating a three-dimensional structure.

As for the coffin itself, it will completely decompose in 30 to 45 days, while the body will decompose in about two to three years. For comparison, conventional coffin burials take more than a decade to completely disappear.

The organic cocoon is now available in the Netherlands at a price of about $ 1,500. The Hendrikx start-up manufactured the first batch of ten living coffins, one of which was already used for the funeral of an 82-year-old woman.

The inventor said that he spoke with one of the woman’s children. “She lost her mother but she was happy because, thanks to this box, she will return to nature and will soon live like a tree,” he revealed.

Now, Hendrikx seeks to find out how human compost influences the soil.

“This will help us convince local municipalities to transform polluted areas into healthy forests, with our bodies as nutrients,” he said.

Dutch designers are already working on another ambitious project: a coffin made with bioluminescent mushrooms that could serve as a kind of natural grave marker, instead of traditional candles or flowers.