If you are looking for a modest casket option for a simple funeral or cremation, you should consider buying a cardboard casket. They are a low-cost and eco-friendly alternative to traditional caskets. Although they are made of a simple material, cardboard caskets have a lot to offer in terms of durability, style, sustainability, and value for the price.
Read more and find out everything you need to know about cardboard casket options.
Note: In this article, we use the word “casket” and not “coffin”. Though often used interchangeably, they mean different things.
What Is A Cardboard Casket?
A cardboard casket is a burial container usually made of corrugated or honeycombed cardboard—a common material that is widely produced. They usually contain a base made of thicker cardboard or plywood to maintain stability and prevent leaks.
Cardboard caskets require few resources to build. Like paper, it is easy to burn, making it a good option for eco-friendly cremations.
How Much Is A Cardboard Casket?
To give you a ballpark figure of cardboard caskets according to various styles, we selected a few examples that are available online in the UK.
England is way ahead of the United States in terms of green burials. Your local crematorium will likely have cardboard options available at prices less than or equal to the following.
Almost every funeral home and crematorium will offer a simple cardboard casket for less than $100 USD.
The cheapest cardboard casket you’ll find is in plain white or brown. It is a good option if you want a straightforward and simple casket for burial or cremation. The Cardboard Coffin Company sells its Manila Cardboard Coffin for £192 ($226.33 USD).
A cardboard casket can get more expensive if you want it in a more luxurious style. It can be made in a wood-like finish such as Compare The Coffin’s Light Woodgrain Cardboard Coffin that costs £299 ($352.49 USD).
If you want to have your cardboard casket customized with a design of your choosing, it’ll cost you about one hundred more pounds. This picture cardboard casket with bluebells and cloud design by Earth to Heaven costs £485 ($571.77 USD).
These are just a few examples of consumer retail prices. The price will likely be cheaper at your local crematorium.
Benefits of Cardboard Caskets
Cardboard caskets have the benefit of being
Lightweight Yet Durable
Although it may seem that cardboard is a simple material, cardboard caskets are built to be sturdy enough to handle hundreds of pounds of weight. In fact—though a casket can weigh as little as 26 pounds—they are strong enough to handle a 300-pound body.
If one needs to support something heavier, a plywood tray can be inserted into the coffin for reinforcement. Regardless of the expected load, a cardboard casket is fashioned with a bottom liner (still made of cardboard) to prevent leaks.
Another benefit unique to cardboard caskets is that they are collapsible and easy to ship.
Cardboard Caskets Can Be Customized
A cardboard casket does not have to be plain. A white or brown cardboard casket can serve as a canvas for your imagination. They can be painted with a wide range of colors. Another option is to create a wood-like appearance by using a painted treatment of faux cherry or pine finish.
Cardboard coffins can also be decorated with any scene, pattern, or picture of your choice. Casket retailers can print pictures and apply them using a biodegradable material wrap. The end result is a container commonly called a picture casket. This allows you to personalize the tribute on the box specifically to the person or pet.
Custom caskets designs are a growing trend that allows for personal expression, whether it be religious, cultural, family, or individual interest. You can learn more about the possibilities at Casketwraps.
Decoration As Grieving
If you want to personalize a coffin for your loved one, you can also write messages or put drawings on a cardboard casket. This process can serve as effective grieving as you artistically express your feelings on your loved one’s coffin. This can also be a cathartic activity for a small group. Families and friends can be asked to actively participate in the casket decorating and share the experience.
Lastly, you can decorate a cardboard casket with pictures, flowers, and other symbols reminiscent of your deceased loved one. This type of personalization is a good way to make a funeral intimate and touching.
Cardboard Caskets Are Eco-Friendly
Cardboard caskets offer another important benefit by being 100% biodegradable. They do not contain any metal parts. Therefore a cardboard casket decomposes easily into the soil—in contrast to most traditional caskets.
Cardboard caskets are made from recyclable materials. They also produce 90% less carbon emissions when cremated compared to hardwood options.
Cardboard Caskets Are Low-Cost
A cardboard casket is a lot cheaper than a standard casket because of raw material cost. Cardboard is widely available, easily produced and it still strong enough to serve its purpose as a casket. Conventional caskets, on the other hand, are generally made from expensive and chemically-treated woods or metals—materials that will not easily biodegrade.
Traditional caskets cost thousands of dollars. It is completely reasonable to avoid this cost and consider the cardboard alternative. In fact, the growing Green funeral movement encourages this as a way to avoid wasting money on something that will only serve its purpose for a few hours—a casket that will only be seen for a short time during ceremonies and viewings.
There are many ways to honor those that have gone. Spending money on a casket is an individual’s choice.
Cardboard Cremation Caskets
A container of some kind is required for all cremations. As a standard, the cremation container must be enclosed, rigid, leak-proof, and combustible. (Some crematories allow for burial shrouds.)
The cheapest option for this is a cardboard container, (also known as an alternative container). Because of this fact, cardboard containers are primarily used for cremations. Read our post about all your options for cremation caskets to learn about the alternatives.
Trivia: According to the book Grave Matters by Mark Harris, 80% of cremations nationwide use cardboard containers.
As opposed to traditional caskets, a crematory will consume less fuel and release fewer pollutants while cremating cardboard cremation caskets—just another reason why cardboard caskets are great for the environment.
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Cardboard Caskets
If you want to build your own cardboard coffin, DIYing Free offers a free step-by-step guide to building a cardboard coffin.
(This is a coffin, not a casket—it has six sides and not four.)
- Download the file for the cardboard coffin design
- Gather your cardboard,
- Laser cut it using the file
- Assemble your casket using the instructions provided
The cardboard you gather must match the surface area of 21 sheets measuring 61 x 96 cm (24.02 by 37.80 inches). You can source cardboard for free from bike shops, grocery stores and appliances stores.
For the laser cut step, DIYing Free offers a list of FabLabs where you can have the file cut.
The rest of the steps are available in this instructional guide.
Cardboard is the perfect material to make a coffin out of: it is often free because it’s a waste product, it is very strong in relation to its weight and it biodegrades quickly.Justin Tyler Tate of DIYing Free
Where To Buy Cardboard Caskets
Your local crematory or funeral home may have an available cardboard casket. You’ll probably have to ask for it specifically, as cardboard caskets rarely make it to the showroom.
You can also buy from any local casket retailer, although they may not offer personalization.
Best Option: Purchase Online
As a great way to choose from a wide range of options and to ensure that you save money, your best option is to purchase a cardboard casket online (if you’re in the UK).
A lot of online coffin sellers offer high-quality cardboard caskets with unique and beautiful styles. Simply search for cardboard caskets on Google and browse from shops that cater directly to the general public. From there, you can have it shipped directly to your address or to your funeral home.
Unfortunately, we haven’t been to find an online cardboard casket manufacturer that sells direct to consumers. If you find one in the US, please let us know.
Tip: According to the FTC, every funeral home is required to accept any casket bought elsewhere. Moreover, they cannot charge you any fee if you purchase from another retailer. Lastly, your funeral home cannot require you to be there when the casket is delivered to them.
A cardboard casket is simply a low-cost coffin made of cardboard. It is often used for cremations as an alternative container because it is easily combustible. However, it can also be used for burials—particularly green and natural burials—because of its eco-friendly feature.
In the UK, they can range from £165 up to £499 ($195 to $588 USD) depending on the style and design. A plain brown cardboard coffin is usually the cheapest, while a picture casket printed with colorful designs are the most expensive.
Cardboard caskets are durable, environmentally friendly, customizable, and cheap. Although they are made of simple and common material, cardboard caskets are still strong and sturdy enough to handle a 300-pound body. A cardboard coffin is also 100% biodegradable and made of recyclable materials, making it friendly to the environment. Lastly, it can be personalized and decorated with various designs while still being less expensive than a traditional coffin.
Absolutely. Cardboard caskets are one of the best options if you are opting for a green and natural burial because it is biodegradable. Other eco-friendly casket options are pine caskets and wicker coffins. However, before using a cardboard casket for burial, it is best to contact the cemetery operators first regarding their policies.
Yes. Cardboard caskets are biodegradable. They usually do not contain any metal components such as screws or other fittings that are not natural.
Yes. A cardboard casket is engineered and tested to carry a body weighing 300 pounds or more.
Yes. You may write messages, draw, or paint on a cardboard casket. You may also put pictures, flowers, or other decorations that you want in order to personalize your loved one’s cardboard casket.
Of course! It wouldn’t be a very good casket if you couldn’t move it. Cardboard is a surprisingly strong and durable material.
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