Eco-friendly coffin company springs to life in Lanark County

By Evelyn Harford, InsideOttawaValley, January 16, 2021

Most people think about green living. But what about green death?

Donna Klassen started Earthbound Coffins — a family-owned business — to provide an alternative, eco-friendly option for people who desire a simple and green burial.

(...)Each handcrafted coffin is made with Lanark County timber. The rope handles are made together with a local craftsperson. The use of non-toxic glue and minimal hardware make them biodegradable, unlike more contemporary caskets adorned with satin and flashy hardware, rich stains and polishes.

The production of the coffins is sustainable, too. The offcut wood heats the workshop and wood shavings are reused as lining or used for Klassen’s horses and chickens — the wood ash is even used in the family’s vegetable garden.

Klassen’s coffins offer simplistic beauty and an option for those wishing to choose natural burial — something Klassen is passionate about.

“Instead of putting more chemicals into the earth, you’re actually enriching the earth,” she said. “After taking all your life from the world, it’s the one way that your body actually gives back.”

Green burial is one of the most eco-friendly options for a person to choose for their body’s final resting place after death. Traditional burial requires a lot of resources underneath and above ground including lawn maintenance, concrete encasement of caskets, which are often made of polished wood or metal. There is also worry that chemicals used in embalming will eventually leak into the earth, polluting water and soil.

Cremation contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Natural Burial Association, the average cremation uses 106 litres of fuel to burn a single body and it emits toxins like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

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