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After almost two years of research and development, Folkestone based Kent Casket Industries (KCI) came to the market in 1999 with a range of self-assembly coffins and caskets; the components are factory finished and can be assembled within a matter of minutes. No great DIY skills are required and no sophisticated equipment is needed - the only assembly tool required is a screwdriver.
The market research indicated that a low-cost flatpack coffin, which looked different, and was cremation friendly, was desirous.
Now all the attributes of the perfect flatpack system had to be addressed:
The range is limited to coffins and rectangular caskets in various sizes.
To enjoy the best prices, KCI arranges to have container loads delivered anywhere in Britain; the 20' container can accommodate approximately 260 flatpack coffins.
In order to get a market reaction, a number of prominent funeral directors were approached, and shown samples; the immediate reaction was that it would be a pleasure to be able to offer such an attractive and different coffin, as an alternative to the veneers. The fact that they were available in flatpack form was a big plus factor - most funeral directors are hard pushed for storage space, which makes it very difficult to introduce new coffin models.
A number of crematorium operators were given samples for testing; all reported to be very satisfied with the product from the emissions perspective. Furthermore, Pine, being a soft wood, burns very quickly, which is therefore economical for the operator.
Up until now, all KCI's coffins have been delivered directly to funeral directors in container loads.
In order to assist those people who do not want the pomp and ceremony of a formal burial, for those people who want the choice of just having a simple cremation or a simple woodland burial at a "green cemetery" (or a burial at home), KCI has decided to make the "WOODLAND" freely available to the public via the internet.
This eco-friendly coffin is beautifully crafted from solid pine wood, which is sourced from sustainable forests, all certified by the Forest Stewardship Council; it is sanded to a cabinet finish, which brings out the natural wood colour. No plastic/PVC fixings and fittings of any description are used in the manufacture and assembly process, and only biodegradable, non-toxic glue is used; no stains, varnishes, oils, or animal products of any kind are used. The "WOODLAND" is a self-assembly coffin, which can be assembled within a matter of minutes with wooden dowels. No great DIY skills are required and no sophisticated equipment is needed - the only assembly tool required is a light hammer.
It was only the pursuit for cheaper products in the furniture industry, that forced chipboard products into the coffin industry, to the demise of the traditional solid coffins. KCI believe that in time to come, for ecological reasons, the cremation of chipboard coffins will be illegal - as they are in parts of continental Europe. Then, he says, we will be able to go back to using our traditional solid coffins. But why wait?
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Unit 5, Little Cliffsend Farm
Kent CT21 5HP