The aim of the startup is


When it comes to matters of life and death, we may be missing a key element of conversation: mushrooms.

A new startup has discovered that fungi don’t just fill people’s plates while they’re alive. It can also be used to care for the body after death. Loop Biotech “grows” coffins and urns by combining mycelium, the structure of mushroom roots, with hemp fibers.

Dutch natural burial
Roneke Westhoff, director (right) and founder Bob Hendricks (left) of Dutch startup Loop Biotech, view one of the cocoon-like coffins grown from local mushrooms and upcycled hemp fibers. exhibit one. Designed to blend in with the environment as the demand for more sustainability increases. Burial in Delft, Netherlands, Monday, May 22, 2023.

Alexander Furtura/AP

The company’s founders say they want to “work with nature to leave a positive footprint on humanity,” a goal that is difficult to achieve with today’s common burial practices.

A study published last year in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Chemosphere found that cemeteries can be a potential source of infection. soil and water pollution, urban populations living near dense cemeteries are most at risk of such effects. Studies have shown that heavy metals are among the contaminants that can leach into soil and water.

And even if people choose cremation, the process emits “several pollutants,” including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, the study authors said.

Sean Harris, a US investor in Loop Biotech, told The Associated Press that the startup is a way to change that.

“We all have different cultures and different ways of wanting to be buried in the world. But many, most of us want to be buried differently. I think,” he said. “And it’s been very old fashioned for 50 and 100 years alike.”

Loop Biotech offers three options, all of which it says are “100% natural.” The sarcophagus-like “living cocoon” and the sarcophagus-like “forest bed,” which is said to be the world’s first living burial carrier. Thin open-top coffins with moss-covered floors and urns for those who wish to be cremated come with plants sprouting from the ashes.

All of these items “grow in just seven days” and biodegrade in just 45 days after being buried, according to the Dutch company.

“Instead of ‘we die and we’re buried in the ground and that’s it’ there are now new stories. We can enrich our life after death and you grow as new plants and trees. We can keep going,” said the startup’s 29-year-old founder Bob Hendricks. Associated Press. “It brings a new story where we can be part of something bigger than ourselves.”

Not only is this product more environmentally friendly than traditional burials, it’s also cheaper, ranging from about $200 to just over $1,000. According to the 2021 edition of the National Association of Funeral Directors, metal burial coffins cost an average of $2,500. report, the total cost of a cremation coffin and urn averages about $1,600. Wooden burial coffins are even more expensive, around $3,000.

Currently, Loop Biotech makes about 500 coffins and urns a month and only ships them across Europe, The Associated Press reports.

“Northern European countries are more environmentally conscious and have autumn,” says Hendricks. “So they know and understand mushrooms, how they work, how they are part of the ecosystem.”


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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