The good news for consumers is the growing number of new businesses that are providing alternative options to a traditional funeral.
Last year, work-from-home mum Asha Martin began Caskets Direct, an online caskets and coffins retail store where consumers can buy caskets or coffins for between $680 and $1300 (not including shipping charges for those living outside Victoria). Says Martin: “Caskets similar to the most expensive one in my online store retail through funeral homes for between $3000 and $5000."
Custom-designed cardboard coffins and caskets offer the
chance to individualise the casket. LifeArt is a company that manufactures these
and ships them to anywhere in Australia. Coffins are available in a range of
existing styles, or can be designed and personalised for an individual consumer.
You can browse the site and view designs on the company's website, but a LifeArt coffin must be
requested through a funeral director and cannot be ordered directly from the
manufacturer. The price of a standard, non-customised coffin tends to be in the
budget range of traditional coffins, while the customised designs fall
somewhere in the mid-range. Once the coffin is requested by a funeral director,
it can be shipped within two hours of an order being received. The cardboard
has been approved by TestSafe Australia for compliance with the Australian
Cemeteries and Crematoria Association's relevant requirements.
Leaving Lightly, a NSW-based company, also manufactures
TestSafe compliant cardboard coffins. They are biodegradable and are made of post-consumer recycled
cardboard. While Leaving Lightly sells predominantly through funeral directors,
they make exceptions for those organising funerals themselves. Coffins are
available in a variety of styles. The cheapest have a paper-finish with rope
handles, while the more expensive models have timber finishes and metal handles.