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Why willow coffins are good for the environment

An increasing number of people are considering the environment during their everyday lives and, in death, there are opportunities to continue these sentiments with an eco, natural or green funeral.


At Tester & Jones, we pride ourselves on being flexible and ready to respond to individual requests which honour a loved one. We have, for instance, arranged an increasing number of natural burials.


Today, you can also choose from natural, sustainable and biodegradable coffins or ashes caskets, made from materials such as banana leaf, recycled cardboard, sea grass or Somerset Willow.


Some funeral directors import their willow (also known as wicker) coffins from overseas but we always source our ones from Somerset Willow, which makes each willow coffin entirely by hand, using traditional techniques. Willow is the perfect material, environmentally considerate to the earth, yet beautiful when woven.


Somerset Willow is grown in rows of bushes on the Somerset levels and is harvested from late autumn. Once cut, the willow will regenerate back to the same height within a single year, making it highly renewable. Once planted, a willow crown will last up to 60 years before needing to be renewed and, in that time, only the most basic of maintenance is required.


The Somerset Willow company explains: “The willow we grow integrates with its surrounding land exceptionally well, providing a natural habitat for many species of wetland birds and animals. When grown as a short rotation coppice, our willow has a much higher water consumption than agricultural crops. In flood-affected areas, this helps to take the pressure off the natural landscape.”


The manufacturing process for one of the Somerset Willow coffins releases 60% less CO₂ than a conventional particleboard coffin. Willow is carbon negative and during the growth of the willow crop, CO₂ becomes trapped under the soil reducing the amount released into the atmosphere.


The coffin structure, handles and lid, including all the linings are totally natural, making Somerset Willow coffins are completely bio-degradable;  The company is committed to not using glues, resins or metal in the manufacture of its willow coffins. This helps to contribute towards the coffin being able to decompose much more quickly than conventional options such as MDF and chipboard.


Somerset Willow coffins are handcrafted as curved willow or traditional-shaped coffins with tapered square ends. They are available in two main colour finishes, buff or gold willow. You can then select from one of 13 natural hand-dyed colours to personalise bands of woven willow into the coffin.


The coffins are also available in coloured versions – including colourful rainbow and hand-painted finishes. Handles come in natural willow, rope or woven handles in complimenting colours.


If you’ve got any questions about our range of coffins, please do get in touch on tel: 01892 611811.




















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