Coffins / caskets in America
I have quoted these figures a number of times in seminars and talks and I still just cant figure how, in 2011, its business as usual in the USA. Every year the American funeral industry buries more than 3,000,000kg of copper and bronze, 80,000,000kg of steel, 70,000m2 hardwood (enough to build more than more than 4000 houses) and 1,500,000 tonnes of reinforced concrete for vaults. Not to mention materials for headstones and memorials. On top of this major casket manufacturers regularly make the EPA's biennial list of each state's top fifty hazardous waste generators.
So, some estimates suggest we have just 25 years worth of copper left... why is it a good idea to use this material for coffins? And why is there an obsession with sealing the body off from nature and preventing its return to the earth? The perverse irony of this aspect is what happens to the body when it decomposes in a sealed container - it has been described by experts as 'a permanent state of advanced but unprogressive putrificationí. What a way to go.