Corrugated Cardboard Coffin
Friday, 15th July 2011

Facts about our corrugated cardboard coffins

A bit of history…

Corrugated cardboard was first patented in 1856. It was first produced for a liner in tall hats, which were common place in the funeral industry. At the time it was called pleated paper. When mass production began in 1874, in its single face form, it was also used for wrapping bottles, lamps and chimneys. A few short years later Corrugated cardboard had become the worlds’ favourite packaging material and still is today.

The world has recognised Corrugated cardboard as a renewable, recyclable, biodegradable and compostable product for over a hundred years and embraced it for its many uses and its environmental benefits. Corrugated cardboard is the perfect material for manufacturing our coffins. Where would we be today if Corrugated had not been invented?


Corrugated and paper based products surround our everyday lives, you only need to look at your daily activities to appreciate the level. All the environmentally conscious among us are contributing to the UKs recycling schemes and landfill prevention. With a recycling rate of over 80%, corrugated has the best UK recycling record of any packaging material.

As a consequence of recycling at least 70% of the materials used for Greenfield Creations cardboard coffins will come from post consumer waste. This contribution by the eco conscious among us will aid in reducing the consumption of invaluable raw materials a little longer. It is important to remember that the vast majority of the timber from trees goes to construction and furniture making. Papermakers increasingly use the forest thinning and sawmill waste.


There seems to be some confusion in the industry as to what is ‘green’ and what is not. I am only speaking about Greenfield Creations manufacturing methods and product, as it would be unfair of me to comment on others without their facts.

Our green credentials explained:

  • Made from Corrugated cardboard.
    Our biodegradable / compostable cardboard is made up of biodegradable waste. Biodegradable waste is a type of waste, typically originating from plant or animal sources, which may be degraded by other living organisms.
  • Made from at least 70% post consumer waste sourced from local mills.
    At least 70% of our coffin is made from recycled paper or cardboard. Under 30% of our coffin is made up of cornstarch glue and the introduction of new wood fibres which are a necessity for maintaining strength and stability. Some products are advertised as being 100% recycled, this is not possible as a certain percentage of glue and new fibres need to be introduced for bonding and strength purposes.
  • Any new fibre / wood pulp is purchased from reputable sources which adhere to the forestry management and sustainability body FSC. Our supplier does not buy material from unidentified sources.
    Although recycling makes economic and environmental sense, recovered paper and cardboard can’t be used indefinitely. Every time a fibre is recycled it loses some of its strength and the fibre lengths are decreased. You can only recycle cardboard about 6 times as it becomes unstable and new fibres need to be introduced. All our new fibres are purchased from Forest certified sources. Our cardboard supplier is FSC accredited.
  • Corn starch glues are used during construction and calico liners and natural rope handles (or cotton strap handles) are also available.
    Corn starch glues are used during construction. Corn starch is a naturally abundant nutrient carbohydrate which can be found in seeds, fruits, plant items, and notably, corn.
  • Low resource manufacturing process and low emission levels when they are cremated.
    Our coffin is manufactured completely in-house and ‘hand’ assembled. Even the glue is applied by a regular paint roller.
  • Our cardboard coffins are suitable for both burial and cremation services.
    For a ‘natural burial ground’, the ethical chain from the raw materials of the coffin, through the manufacturer and supplier, to the quality of the burial itself, is fundamental to their reputation. If one part of the chain is broken, their integrity is compromised, as is that of the funeral director aiming to cater to the needs of a family who wishes for a woodland burial. Furthermore, a natural burial ground will always prefer a coffin supplier or manufacturer that is comprehensively ethical, rather than one which has an ethical product in its catalogue.
  • All materials are manufactured in the UK.
    Our materials are manufactured 115 miles away from our premises in Ridgewell and it takes just 1 articulated lorry to ship enough material to us to produce at least 1500 coffins.

A comparison…

Our cardboard coffin, as a finished article weighs 12kgs, 3kgs (25%) consists of purely raw material and 9kgs (75%) is recycled paper / cardboard. As an uncomplicated comparison, we could make a cardboard coffin from the equivalent of 40 copies of a standard magazine. 10 of which represent the newly introduced raw material and 30 of which represent the recycled content.

The future…

Greenfield Creations have been committed, for 20 years, to investment in newer technology as it becomes available, to keep our manufacturing facility at the forefront of the industry.

*Source: Google, Wikipedia or Industry knowledge

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