In Australia, the belief that cardboard coffins are against Australian regulation. It is this belief that has encouraged families making funeral arrangements for their loved ones, to end up opting for a coffin costing in excess of $1,000. Coffins and caskets presented to families by funeral homes are opulent and elegantly designed. Though these intricacies are not necessary for the function of coffin, they certainly play a role in the bottom line of some of Australia’s biggest funeral care brands.
“When [the funeral director] showed me their coffin catalogue, I asked, ‘Where is the page for cardboard coffins’, and I was told that they were against the health regulations.” This comment was made by a Melbourne resident after arranging a funeral for his mother. The coffin catalogue is a common tool used to show families the coffins and caskets available for purchase – often with very few under the $1,000 mark. The markup is the primary reason why cardboard coffins are not offered to most families. It’s important that if you are seeking a cardboard coffin, you should ask the funeral director what options are available. It is also important to remember that if they do not offer what you are seeking, there are other providers out there that may be able to help you, so call around and request a couple of quotes.
There are companies that specialise in selling cardboard coffins to Australian’s. These have met all of the government requirements (for example durability, strength and thickness). You can purchase the coffin directly from them, however you should speak with your chosen funeral director before proceeding with a purchase.
The cost of a cardboard coffin varies depending on which company it is purchased through. Most manufacturers will require that it be purchased through the funeral director. This ensures that the right size, and requirements are provided. There may be certain requirements at varying crematoria or cemeteries.
Below is a summary of the legislation surrounding cardboard coffins and their use in Australian states. This is not comprehensive, but should give you a fair idea of your options in any Australian state.
|NSW||Public Health (Disposal of Bodies) Regulation 2002Guidelines for the Funeral Industry||i. Standards for CoffinsThe regulation does not specify standards for coffins other than requiring that they have a securely fitting lid.The Regulation spells out the requirements for body bags – type of material, thickness, size of bag.|
|SA||South Australia – Cremation Regulations 2001||Section 9 Coffins(1) A funeral director or other person arranging for the cremation of the remains of a deceased must ensure that the coffin to be used for the cremation—(a) is constructed of timber or material derived from timber that will not release organochlorines during incineration in a crematorium; and
(b) is constructed so that it will not distort or collapse on being subjected to the kind of handling to which a coffin is likely to be subjected during the normal course of events leading up to a cremation (including handling when damp); and
(c) does not have cross pieces projecting from its base; and
(d) subject to subregulation (2), is lined internally with impervious material that is at least 100 µm thick and of such a nature as to prevent the leakage of body fluids from the coffin; and
(e) subject to subregulation (3), contains only material suitable for combustion in the course of a cremation; and
(f) bears a name plate or inscription stating the family name and at least one other name of the deceased whose remains are to be cremated in the coffin.Maximum penalty: $2,500.
(2) A coffin need not be lined with impervious material if—
(a) the body, when placed in the coffin, is completely enclosed in a bag made of impervious material at least 100 µm thick; and
(3) Materials that are not suitable for combustion in the course of a cremation may be used on the exterior of a coffin if they can be removed easily prior to cremation.
|VIC||Victorian Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulations 2005||Part 5 – CREMATION16. Requirements for enclose of body remains and body partsA person must not bring bodily remains or body parts to be cremated into a public cemetery, or convey those remains or body parts within a public cemetery, unless those remains or body parts are enclosed in a coffin, container or receptacle –(a) with a flat base: and
(b) that is clean and hygienic; and
(c) that is constructed of wood, or other substantial material that is combustible and that will not –
(i) impede the cremation process; or
(ii) cause damage to the cremator; and
(d) that will not give rise to noxious emissions when burnt; and
17. Inspection of coffins and containers
If bodily remains or body parts are to be cremated in a crematorium at a public cemetery for which a cemetery trust is responsible pursuant to cremation authorisation or a cremation approval, or in the case of body parts, pursuant to an authority under section 150 of the Act, a cemetery trust may inspect any coffin, container or other receptacle containing those remains or body parts and the contents of that coffin, container or receptacle if the cemetery trust is of the opinion that the coffin, container or other receptacle or its contents could –
(a) impede the cremation process; or
|ACT||Cemeteries and Crematoria (Code of Practice) Approval 2007||
The new Code of Practice is substantially the same as the previous code, except in the clauses which deal with acceptable coffins fur burial and cremation. The new Code removes any legislative impediment to the use of cardboard coffins, although such coffins (like all other coffins) must satisfy the requirements of the relevant approvals and acts.http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/ni/2004-332/default.asp
|TAS||Burial and Cremation (Handling of Human Remains) Regulations 2005||
25. Coffin construction(1) A person arranging for the interment or cremation of human remains must ensure that the coffin used for the interment or cremation is –
(a) impervious so as to prevent the escape of bodily discharges, contaminants or infectious materials; and
(b) of sufficiently robust construction to enable the coffin and the human remains to be disposed of in accordance with the Act.Penalty: Fine not exceeding 10 penalty units.(2) A manager may refuse to accept a coffin for cremation if, in his or her opinion, it is made from, or contains, any material which is likely to –
(a) damage any equipment in the crematorium; or
(b) be injurious to public health or public safety.
|QLD||Cremations Act 2003
|No mention of coffin requirements in their Act or in their Regulations|
|WA||Cremations Act 1929
WA Cremations Regulations 1954
|No mention of coffin requirements in their Act or in their Regulations|
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