All about Cardboard Coffins! — THE LAST HURRAH (2023)

There has been a LOT of talk about Cardboard Coffins this week, with the ABC news reporting on the Community Coffin Club in Tassie and their great initatives with cardboard and home-made coffins. Although the article missed a lot of information (like the fact these initatives are happening as a fundraiser for the awesome Tender Funerals, and that these coffins aren’t made in Tassie) it is always brilliant to see the discussion that comes from any mention of death, funerals and coffin options in the mainstream media.

I thought it might be a good time to delve deeper into cardboard coffins in Australia, dispel some myths, and tell people how they can access these coffins either independently, or through a funeral director, as well as looking at the environmental profile of these kinds of coffin options.

NB: Although this article is singing the praises of the Daisybox, we are not affiliated in any way with it or it’s manufacturers or suppliers, and this article is completely independent. We did not receive any payment or other incentive for this. We just really like this cardboard option!


There are a few different types of cardboard coffins available here in Australia. Some, like the Life Art brand are extremely expensive comparatively and are owned by the large funeral conglomerates.

Others are independently owned, and prices can vary wildly. Some also have what might be considered design flaws, so it is worth checking with your cardboard-coffin-friendly funeral director about which brands they recommend.

The independent brands we know of are:

  • DaisyBox by Scientia (formerly known as Bioboard)

  • Leaving Lightly

  • Peace Pod

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Weight Limits

At this time, we use and recommend the DaisyBox model, for a number of reasons, which we will outline below. First, it is made from two layers of bonded corrugated cardboard, about 15mm thick, giving the casket a minimum lift-strength of 240kg. This means there is no chance the bottom could fall out of it - it is smooth and solid, with no edges that could catch on the injection devices crematoriums use to ‘launch’ coffins into the oven. (Yes, they do usually launch coffins in at quite an impressive speed!)

Although it is unlikely someone over 200kg would fit into the Daisybox shoulder to shoulder, it is reassuring to know that it has that capacity.

What if it rains?!

I notice a lot of people worry about this when thinking about cardboard coffins. Let us reassure you on this. All the brands of cardboard coffins we have used are a VERY firm and rigid card. Even if you threw a bucket of water on them, it wouldn’t affect the integrity of the coffin at all. Of course, over time, constant moisture is sure to affect the structure, but that isn’t of any concern to any standard cremation or burial. If someone did need to be held for a long period of time, the funeral director can just hold off on encoffining the person until close to their funeral/disposition.

Cardboard Coffins & Caskets for Burial or Cremation

Cardboard is a viable option for both burial and cremation. Some crematoriums and funeral directors are wary of using cardboard, mostly because they are not used to it, and feel anxious about using something new. However in the case of the major cardboard coffin options in Australia, they have been used thousands of times and have been perfectly workable options.

Some crematorium operators are concerned that the cardboard could catch on the rollers or injection device. That’s why we recommend the Daisybox - it is one smooth piece of cardboard with no glued edges at the bottom.

Another common concern is the amount of ash produced, or the notion that far more fuel is needed to conduct the cremation. Of course, it is hard to give a defining answer as there are many types of cremators out there - however, after speaking to the operator of one of Melbourne’s busiest crematoriums, we have been assured that there is adequate combustible material to successfully ignite the deceased, and to successfully complete the cremation without having to use far more fuel.

All crematoriums in Victoria accept cardboard coffins, so that is a high level of confidence shown by these major operators in cardboard.

Burial is also a totally viable option with cardboard. It is important to check that the handle design is solid and sturdy, as some cardboard options have an inner rope handle linking system that could be less than sturdy if not correctly assembled. But overall, there is no problem at all using a cardboard coffin like the Daisybox.

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Are cardboard coffins more expensive?

I was so surprised to read the comments on the recent ABC article and read over and over that people had been told that cardboard coffins were more expensive than regular coffins. I know for a fact that isn’t the case!! So how could it be?!

I did some research and discovered that, like all coffin pricing in Australia, there is no RRP (recommended retail price) listed publically for any coffins. This means that there’s no limit to what prices can be charged. We have made it a core element of our business to minimise our markups, however in the mainstream funeral industry coffins remain a cash-cow element of the core business. I have heard some funeral companies charging up to $5000 for these cardboards, which is absolutely insane. I just cannot understand WHY!?

The Last Hurrah Funerals offers cardboard coffins and plantation timber bearers and calico shrouds as part of our professional services fee - meaning families don’t have to fork out any extra for these options, even with direct cremation.

Many of our people have purchased a cardboard coffin without a service - for their own DIY funerals, to decorate for later use and so on. We have been charging $300 including postage to Melbourne. Definitely less expensive than almost any other coffin out there, except perhaps one made from MDF cut-offs, which, while certainly cheap for the funeral director to procure, is not truly sustainable or environmentally friendly, and is often really ugly to boot!

The Daisybox team are also looking at ways to help stop this kind of huge price variation. Their brand-new site, which is unveiling options, some of which will be launched in 2021, includes RRP for their products. The standard craft-cardboard Daisybox (formerly bioboard) is listed at $249 - a shade over what we were charging before postage. We’re huge supporters of this initiative, which will keep prices for these sustainable items fair and uniform, and will allow families to search out funeral providers who do offer this product at the correct price.

So, how green & sustainable are Cardboard Coffins?

Such a curly question!

In short, it is difficult to truly assess the greenest options here. Just like burial and cremation both have positives and negatives when it comes to their carbon footprint, so much so that they almost come out even (with natural burial just edging ahead by my estimation), so too different coffin and shroud options have variable factors.

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We can say without doubt that putting hardwood or metal coffins into the ground is certainly not environmentally friendly. Burning hardwood is similarly wasteful and unsustainable. Burning MDF is akin to burning PVC, and we all know that’s bogus for mother earth.

Cardboard sounds great; it biodegrades, can be made from recyclable materials, and if you choose a model that uses no or minimal glue, it is very low in formaldehyde and other toxins.

However, some things to consider include the fact that to make 1kg paper, it takes 324 litres of water. (Source:

  • Cardboard could easily take more considering its properties.

  • Cardboard coffins are generally lined in plastic, which is a legislative requirement in many states, and all use plastic tags or plastic-coated escutcheons (this can be altered for natural burial though).

  • Cardboard coffins are made overseas and have a heavy carbon footprint

  • It is unclear what sort of working conditions the makers of these coffins are subjected to

    (It is worth pointing out that many of these issues also apply to standard coffins too)

What is the most sustainable option for body disposition?

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We wouldn’t claim to know the definitive answer to this - let’s take the question of burial or cremation out of the equation (another blog will examine these and also alkaline hydrolysis and other emerging technologies), and we do have a fairly clear idea of what is most sustainable.

Cardboard is a great option, and if plastic elements could be replaced with biodegradable hardware, including the plastic lining, then Cardboard would likely be the clear winner.

We were pretty sure that the plantation timber bearer (made right here in Melbourne) and a calico shroud was the most sustainable option, until, in the writing of this article, we discovered it takes 2700 litres of water to make a cotton shirt! (Source:

That’s hefty! What about the equally natural and much more pricey silk? Apparently even more than cotton for irrigated silk, and it also involves many thousands of silkworm cocoons.

However, this bearer and shroud combo is plastic-free (if you use traditional or biodegradable methods of wrapping the body to avoid leakage, which may include some mortuary care techniques such as aspiration; only really needed in certain cases), and uses minimal materials…

It seems like both cardboard and the shroud/bearer combo are great sustainable and relatively eco-friendly options, which is why we offer both these options as standard inclusions. Hopefully more funeral directors will consider these as standard options.

Hopefully this little treatise on cardboard coffins has been useful to someone out there! If you’d like to know more about the DaisyBox you can check out their site:

We’re always here to help you 24/7 with any enquiries about funerals, dying, great farewells and much more:

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Over and out for now!


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