Cardboard coffins are made from recycled cardboard.
FUNERAL PLANNING

Are ‘cardboard coffins’ more expensive?

mel-mono
  • Mel Buttigieg
  • Writer, Bare
  • June 3, 2021
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Bare offers a simple and affordable cremation option without compromising on the level of service. Click below to see the price for your area.

“I was told cardboard coffins are more expensive”.

That’s the message we’re finding some traditional funeral directors are telling customers.

Contrary to what many families are being told, the production of ‘cardboard coffins’ costs significantly less than traditional metal, timber or wood coffins and caskets.

This article explains the price discrepancies between traditional funeral directors and why they can be reluctant to offer cardboard coffins to families. We also explain the benefits of cardboard coffins.

What is a cardboard coffin?

The term ‘carboard coffin’ refers to a more environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional coffins and caskets, commonly made from recycled cardboard. Cardboard coffins and caskets are 100% biodegradable and leave a lower carbon footprint. They produce fewer carbon emissions and don’t require as much energy to burn as chipboard or timber coffins and caskets.

You can read more about the environmental impacts of funerals here.

At Bare Cremation, we only use highly-engineered fibreboard caskets, to keep both carbon emissions and prices low. These ‘cardboard coffins’ have a lower carbon footprint to both make and cremate, compared with the glossy, solid wood coffins and caskets commonly used in traditional funerals.

As Bare is a non-traditional funeral provider, many pre-paid customers also tell us they don’t want to waste their money and would rather be sent off in a ‘cardboard box’. The single-use fibreboard caskets we use with every arrangement basically allows for that!

Are cardboard coffins legal?

Cardboard coffins and caskets are a viable and legally accepted option throughout Australia for use in both cremation and burial.

There is a growing shift towards cardboard coffins as Australians are becoming more aware of their environmental footprint in life and in death, as well as the financial burden of funeral costs. As it is a relatively modern trend, some crematoriums and long-established funeral directors can be reluctant to use cardboard coffins simply because they are not familiar with them.

However, the cardboard coffins used in a Bare cremation are durable, strong and meet Australian regulations. They have extra thick corrugated panels, allowing for weight-bearing up to 240kg.

How much do cardboard coffins cost?

Some funeral directors, like Bare, include the coffin as part of their standard service fee. However, traditional funeral homes generally add on the cost of the coffin or casket to the service fee charged to families.

The price of a cardboard coffin can vary wildly between provider and funeral directors. One of the reasons is because a large funeral conglomerate owns a higher-priced cardboard coffin provider.

Based on prices listed online, the cost of cardboard coffins range around $300-$800 for a basic product used in a non-attended direct cremation, to around $3,000-$5,000 for a customised cardboard coffin at an attended ceremony. In comparison, the price of a more conventional coffin generally costs around $2,000-$10,000+ according to gatheredhere.com.au. You can read more about the average cost of a funeral in Australia here.

Another reason traditional funeral directors can be reluctant to offer families cardboard coffins as an option is because coffins and caskets are where they make significant markups, according to Funeral Directors Australia. This is why it is important to specifically ask the funeral director about the available options for cardboard coffins.

If the funeral director is not able to accommodate your request, or if you are being quoted a price you are not comfortable with, you always have the choice to go to another funeral provider that may be more accommodating. We recommend calling funeral directors to request a quote, or looking for a price list on their website.

If you are considering purchasing a coffin directly from a specialist cardboard coffin provider and supplying your own coffin or casket, you should first speak with your funeral provider. It is common for funeral homes to charge a ‘handling fee’ of several hundreds of dollars to accommodate BYO coffins, so keep this in mind.

Other benefits of a cardboard coffin

Depending on your choice of product, funeral provider and ceremony, there may be scope to personalise a cardboard coffin.

Some providers allow customised printing to reflect the deceased person’s passions in life. Some families invite grandchildren to decorate or draw pictures on the casket before the deceased person is placed inside, or they may encourage loved ones to write messages on it.

Decorating the coffin can help with the grieving process to bring closure after the loss of a loved one. Children, in particular, may find comfort in being included in the farewell. Writing heartfelt messages is the ultimate sign-off from the deceased person’s nearest and dearest.

Let us help you say goodbye on your terms, by providing a high-quality cremation service at an affordable price.

To arrange a cremation, visit bare.com.au, or call 1800 951 897 for a prepaid arrangement; or 1800 531 706 for immediate need.

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