Mushroom coffin biodegrades in 45 days

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. biodegrade / ˌbaɪ oʊ dɪˈgreɪd / (v.) – to break down into smaller parts and be absorbed by the environment

    Most papers take three to five months to biodegrade.

  2. focal point / ˈfoʊ kəl pɔɪnt / (n.) – a center of attention, interest, or activity

    The concept of time is the focal point of the novel.

  3. burial / ˈbɛr i əl / (n.) – the act or ceremony of burying a dead person or animal into a grave

    Most people who attended the burial wore white.

  4. cremation / krɪˈmeɪ ʃən / (n.) – the act of burning a dead body until it turns into ash

    Some people choose cremation rather than burial.

  5. old-school / ˈoʊld skul / (adj.) – following traditional practices or policies

    The bakery still uses the old-school way of making bread.


Read the text below.

Environmentally friendly funerals are a growing trend.

And while traditional wooden coffins come from trees that can take decades to grow and years to break down in the soil, this mushroom version biodegrades and delivers the remains to nature in barely a month and a half.

With climate consciousness and special care of nature a focal point in ever more lives, Loop Biotech says it has the answer for those wanting a more natural burial.

“From my perspective, it’s all about like, hey, how can we give humanity a positive footprint? And I really want to collaborate with nature to do a lot of study and research towards nature and especially mushrooms. And I learned that they are the biggest recyclers on the planet. So I thought, hey, why can we not be part of the cycle of life? And then decided to grow a mushroom-based coffin,” says Bob Hendrikx, the 29-year-old founder of Loop Biotech.

Moss can be draped within the coffins for burial ceremonies. And for those preferring cremation, there is also an urn they grow which can be buried to grow a tree. So when the urn is broken down, the ashes can help give life to the tree explains Hendrikx: “So this one is a beautiful combination of a regular urn in which you can put in the ashes or with a tree on top. So if you put this in the soil, this will biodegrade and enrich nature.”

To put nature at the heart of such funerals, Loop Biotech is partnering with Nature Burials Netherlands which uses six special habitats where remains can be embedded in protected parks.

Currently, Loop Biotech has a capacity to “grow” 500 coffins or urns a month, and is shipping across Europe.

“We all have different cultures and different ways of wanting to be buried in the world. But I do think there’s a lot of us, a huge percentage of us, that would like it differently. And it’s been very old-school the same way for 50 or 100 years,” says Shawn Harris, a U.S. investor in Loop Biotech.

This article was provided by The Associated Press. 

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Loop Biotech grows and sells mushroom coffins and urns and is shipping across Europe. Do you think mushroom coffins and urns will be welcomed in your country? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, what biotechnological innovations should be mass-produced (ex. biodegradable plastic, edible utensils)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Bob Hendrikx asked himself the question “How can we give humanity a positive footprint?” What do you think he meant by “positive footprint?” Discuss.
  • If you were asked the same question about giving humanity a positive footprint, what will be your answer? Discuss.