Read all about it: going green for burials...

Recycled newspaper coffin
Recycled newspaper coffin

NEWSPAPERS are being used to make eco-friendly coffins and are now available at an Eastbourne funeral director.

Payne and Sons Funeral Directors in Seaside has teamed up with Lawrence Marshall from Bexhill who makes the papier-mâché coffins.

Lawrence delivers morning newspapers then collects them at the end of the week to make the exclusive designs. He makes his own papier-mâché, which is then pressed by a hand-powered Victorian press to keep within Lawrence’s strong eco-friendly ethos.

The coffins are made at Lawrence’s home and the only energy used is enough electricity to power one light bulb if needed and to listen to BBC Radio 2.

The coffins are then sponge painted by hand using water-based low emission paint.

Payne and Son Funeral Directors was opened by rifleman Chris Howard and his mother Donna Payne after Chris lost a leg and three fingers in a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2009.

They have only been offering the coffins for a few days but hope the new recycled option will provide an alternative choice for those who want to help the environment, even in death.

Donna said, “It is a lovely option for people. In the past we have had families who want the eco-friendly option and have asked for cardboard coffins. Not only do they look awful, but they are expensive too and some of the families have ended up going with a conventional chipboard coffin, even though it is against their environmental ethos, because of the cost.

“These new newspaper coffins look lovely and are cheaper. I think there will be lots of families interested in them and we will certainly not be using the cardboard ones again.”

Coffin maker Lawrence has carried out tests which compared his newspaper coffin with the more conventional style chipboard coffin. The tests showed the particulate emissions, which are small particles of solids and liquids, to the atmosphere are similar for both coffin types but the emissions of hydrogen chloride is markedly lower for the recycled paper coffin. Lawrence also found the recycled paper coffin took around half the time to cremate.

The coffin on show at Payne and Son (pictured) is in a white and rainbow design but can be painted in a wide range of colours.