10/04/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Going Green Beyond The Grave: Sustainable, Biodegradable Coffins (VIDEO)

How long was it before you started living sustainably? Were you ten years old before you started recycling? Fifteen before you started using reusable bags? Twenty-five before composting?

It's hard to figure out how to make up for lost time, but there is... one thing. How about being sustainable forever? If you feel the need to be green in the end -- like the very end -- green funerals and green coffins are around for you.

These coffins are the antithesis of the funeral industry's usual rain-forest mahogany and steel caskets, which are held together by formaldehyde-infused glue and hermetically sealed to keep nature out.

They won't likely be getting a huge market share, but their existence demonstrates a pretty serious commitment to the environment from at least some of the population.

"It is composting at its best," said Beal, owner of The Natural Burial Company, which will sell a variety of eco-friendly burial products when it opens in January, including the Ecopod, a kayak-shaped coffin made out of recycled newspapers.

Biodegradable coffins are part of a larger trend toward "natural" burials, which require no formaldehyde embalming, cement vaults, chemical lawn treatments or laminated caskets. Advocates say such burials are less damaging to the environment.