At the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) annual convention and expo, there were plenty of caskets on display. They ran the gamut – from traditional units for burial to green cremation caskets to futuristic pods.
At the traditional end of the scale, Batesville Casket Company had this carousel of caskets showing how one model can be modified to look feminine, masculine or gender neutral. While women make up 51% of the population, only about 15% of the caskets on display at funeral homes are designed to have a feminine look. Bret Drewelow, Region Director with Batesville, shows how one casket can have as many as 10,000 combinations by changing corners, medallions and other decorative elements.
LifeArt International makes cremation caskets from recycled wood fiber. The honeycomb interior structure makes them very strong and lightweight – only weighing 25 pounds, they can carry up to 600 pounds. The handles are combustible plastic that looks like metal. They will offer a biodegradable handle in the future. The exterior can be decorated in multiple ways with computer-aided design and printed within an hour. Cremation of these units generates 60% less emissions than a wooden casket.
Eckhard Kemmerer, Founder of LifeArt International from Australia, shows how these caskets are constructed. The artwork is printed directly on the exteriors and the casket can be created from start to finish within an hour. Customers can create their own designs via computer.
The Honeycomb Casket Company based in Toronto, Canada brought their new product to the U.S. just in time for the NFDA show. Their caskets are made of 100% recycled paper material finished to look like traditional wood caskets, with metal handles and solid wood undersides. The honeycomb interior makes them light enough to lift with one hand, and they burn 50% faster in a retort so it takes less energy to cremate than a wood casket.
Glenn Carroll with the Honeycomb Casket Company out of Toronto shows how easy it is to lift these substantial looking caskets with one hand.
Equinox caskets from Camaquen come from Ecuador. These interesting caskets come in bright colors and unusual shapes. The green unit, Inti, represents the sun energy; red represents Pacha, the peace of the earth; and blue means Quilla, the beauty of the moonlight.
Camaquen owner and designer Enzo and an interpreter explain the unique features of these stylish caskets. They feature colorful fabrics lining the interiors and unusual lids.
UONO cocoon caskets and urns look like futuristic pods for eternal rest. These stylish ovals shapes are environmentally friendly, designed to biodegrade in the earth within 10-15 years and appropriate for cremation. Originating from Germany, the product will launch in the U.S. in 2014.
And then, for the sports fan, there are caskets that can be emblazoned with your favorite sports team. This casket shows Major League Baseball™ logos that can be placed on the ends and corners, the interior, and the handles.
Since we were in Austin, the Texas Rangers team was showcased in this example – with the MLB logo to boot! BTW, this casket was filled with baseballs available for the taking.