Choosing The Right Coffin Or Casket > Timber & Cardboard Coffins

In the wood panels sector, we’re off to a good start – as wood from managed forests is a significant carbon sink, and wood products require less energy to produce than many other materials.

- Dr Alan Halligan
Australian Wood Panels Association

Timber & MDF Coffins

Timber and Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) caskets and coffins are often produced from plantation pine timber which is a renewable resource, from a sustainable industry.

Australia’s forest management is among the best in the world in terms of conservation reserves and codes of practice for production forests.

Only a small percentage of Australia’s 147 million hectares of native forests is public forest potentially available for timber harvesting.

Timber is only harvested from a small percentage of these public native forests each year.

MDF is made by pulping plantation pine down to a fibre and compacting it with heat and glue in specialised machines.

This process creates strong, flat boards.

Once these boards are produced, a simulated wood grain paper veneer is glued to the surface to represent a specific timber species.

Timber and MDF caskets and coffins may require less chemicals, glues, energy and water to produce, than some cardboard coffins.

Here Are Some Things To Consider

  • Both MDF and cardboard are made from wood fibres (same origin).
  • MDF can be denser and stronger than cardboard which makes MDF coffins more durable for manual handling and transportation.
  • MDF can be more resistant to moisture penetration than cardboard.
  • MDF coffin lids may be less prone to crushing during backfill following a burial.
  • MDF coffins are suitable for cremation and burial and have been used for decades for coffin manufacture.

Choosing A Timber Or Cardboard Coffin

Are Cardboard Coffins Cheaper Than Timber Coffins?

It depends. Some cardboard coffins range in price similar to Australian-made MDF coffins.

And some better quality cardboard coffins are comparable in price to Australian-made solid timber coffins.

Are Cardboard Coffins Eco-Friendly?

The cheapest imported varieties may be shipped from other countries, from raw material of unknown origin.

Higher quality cardboard coffins may be produced from post-consumer waste (old papers, magazines etc.) which requires additional energy, water and resources to be used to make the waste into a commercially viable product again.

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