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Emma Maclean in an eco coffin
Emma gets comfortable in an eco coffin

Emma and the eco coffins

Sophie and Ben Dansie are preparing to 'Run the Gauntlet' in an effort to expand their environmentally-friendly coffin business. BBC Cambridgeshire's Emma Maclean went along to find out more...

"I wouldn't be seen dead in that" is a phrase rarely heard in the Dansie household. Sophie and her husband Ben run a decorative coffin business from their home in Coton, on the outskirts of Cambridge.

Sophie Dansie
Sophie with an eco coffin

Their painted coffins aren't just pretty, though.  These are eco coffins.  Made of reinforced cardboard they're sturdy enough to hold a person who weighs up to 26 stone, they're environmentally friendly and cost a fraction of their wooden equivalent.

Speaking to BBC Cambridgeshire's Emma Maclean, Sophie explains that in order to expand their business, she and Ben hope to take advantage of a local initiative called Running the Gauntlet. 

The brainchild of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), Running the Gauntlet helps budding entrepreneurs to hone their pitching skills giving them a better chance of bidding successfully for venture capital.

A decorative eco coffin
A decorative eco coffin

Death is never an easy subject to tackle, but the Dansie's coffins are as cheerful as you're likely to find.  Designs include the poppy and sky design featured in our photographs. Poppies represent remembrance, Sophie explains.

There is also a sea design which Sophie says she would choose for herself, as she finds it very calming.

Cat and eco coffin
Even the cat's fascinated!

The Dansie's eco coffin business has been running for five years and they sell their coffins through local undertakers.  Sophie hopes that if they can successfully expand their business, eco coffins will soon become mainstream, used by people who appreciate both their environmental and design qualities.

audio Emma Maclean tries out an eco coffin >
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last updated: 25/08/06
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j cottrell
great idea I will have one

Lyn File
Is there ssomewhere in North Yorkshire where I can get a painted eco coffin

janet Sellek
I would like to know more about being buried in an cardboard coffin as seen on " Its not easy being Green"

linsey deller
i think it's a fabulous idea and when i go i want a bottle of rose' wine painted on mine!

Olivia Hill
What an enterprising, practical and sensitive product. I wish them every success.

vanessa byrne
Please can you tell me if you can supply me with a cardboard coffin in UK, and how much it might cost? Thankyou, regards vanessa

the reading eagle
fantastic idea! no obstruction to just melting away in to the arms of mother earth. Its the way it should be.

Why not sell direct to the public?

Another contribution to celebrating life !! A lovely way to send someone off.

I live in Victoria, Australia. Just wondering how would look into starting up this type of business, from the wood, up etc...This is something that I've always thought about.. especially in Australia, because I think a lot of us are sick of the conventional. No laughs.

I like the idea of having a design that is calming, even if it seems a little redundant. Incidentally, are they good for burial and cremation?

Well done, Sophie and Dan! Keep at it and they'll be going like hot cakes, soon!

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