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Developed by Dutch startup Loop Biotech, the Living Cocoon is a casket made of mycelium. It takes seven days to grow using local waste ingredients and 30–45 days to disappear once placed in the earth. A human body buried in a mushroom casket is estimated to decompose within three years, versus 10 to 20 in traditional caskets or coffins.
Not only is the process faster, it's also cleaner. Toxins in the human body — like metals and microplastics — are neutralized by networks of fungi and bacteria, preventing toxins from polluting the soil.
Two years ago, the Living Cocoon was first used to bury a person in the Netherlands. The innovation is now set to take off as Dela — the country's leading burial insurance provider — has announced that it's including Loop's caskets in its range of funeral products for both burials and cremations. While soil-feeding benefits are lost when a body is cremated, a mycelium casket is still the most sustainable option since it can be grown in days instead of the years needed to provide wood for traditional coffins.
According to numbers provided to Fortune by the National Funeral Directors Association, 60.5% of respondents to the NFDA's annual survey said "they would be interested in exploring green funeral options," up from 53.8% in 2017 and 55.7% in 2021.
Dela's adoption of the Loop Living Cocoon is a leap forward in moving sustainable death care from fringe to norm. People are increasingly conscious about their ecological footprint, and as they witness greener options for burials, they're more likely to opt for a lighter-footprint sendoff, too.
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