Health + Wellness

Ang Chin Moh’s eco-friendly willow caskets

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Ang Chin Moh, a Singapore bereavement company, introduces eco-friendly willow caskets, providing families options for an environment friendly funeral

The company already offers families an option to “go green” through a biodegradable sea shell for at sea burials. With the eco-friendly willow casket, there is another option for families that are considering burial or cremation.

According to Ang Chin Moh, the casket is crafted by skilled weavers using fast growing willow, a sustainable product. No trees are cut down to produce the casket and the material is 100 percent biodegradable. The interior lining is made from unbleached, natural cotton and does not contain any metal components. Impressively, the willow casket is also appropriate for viewing and services leading to a traditional  burial, cremation or at sea burial. The price is SGD 1,800 before GST.

We spoke with Ang Chin Moh’s CEO, Deborah Andres, to find out more about the company and their learning with environmental friendly materials for funerals.

ang chin moh

Active Age (AA): Can you share with us Ang Chin Moh’s background?

Deborah Andres (DA): Ang Chin Moh is one of Singapore’s longest serving bereavement companies. Established in 1912 the family-owned business is dedicated to serving the community with excellence, dignity, and compassion. Committed to progressing the industry, Ang Chin Moh has achieved many milestones. In 1990 we trained Singapore’s first female embalmer and last year the company sponsored one of Singapore’s youngest ever embalmers, Shane Teo (age 27), to attend a prestigious academy in Scotland, UK.

In 2000 the company created “Western Casket” and “Flying Home” to cater to the funeral needs of the Christian communities and the repatriation needs of international travelers. In 2010 the company successfully bid for the lease of Mount Vernon Sanctuary which we renovated and turned into the funeral service halls of choice for bereaved families and the funeral profession. In 2012, the Ang Chin Moh Foundation was created to serve the community through charitable causes, public education, improving funeral industry standards and preserving the heritage of the profession. Projects include partnerships with Lien Foundation and the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre.

AA: Why launch the eco-casket in Singapore?

DA: Green funerals are practiced all over the world. In recent years in Singapore, we have seen an increase in the number of sea burials using our biodegradable urns, alongside an increased awareness about protecting our environment generally, making it timely to launch now.

AA: Who are the possible customers and do we see more superstitious families adopting the eco-casket?

DA: Anyone is a possible customer. The eco-casket is suitable for anyone who wants to have a ‘green’ or more environmentally friendly funeral, or someone looking for an alternative to the usual wooden casket. There is no difference in the religious rites when using the willow casket. The willow casket has a ‘basket’ like outlook, which for some is more aesthetically pleasant. The casket is sold as one of the choices from our existing catalogue of caskets. In addition, we have a ‘non-traditional’ funeral setup for a non-religious wake.

AA: How will customers obtain and understand the environment “value” through their decision to use the eco-friendly casket?

DA: The eco-casket is made from sustainable materials – fast growing willow and bamboo which are hand woven by skilled. ‘cottage industry’ weavers. The production plant is certified Fair Trade and we adhere to the 10 principles of Fair Trade.

No trees are cut down for its production and no metal components are used. The eco-casket is suitable for cremation and burial in Singapore. When it’s buried, it will disintegrate naturally within 2 – 3 years.

All our consultants are trained to provide the necessary information to educate clients about the environmental value of the eco-casket. The information is also available our website. Over the last month, on our Facebook page, we have been posting information about ‘green funerals’ and how people in other countries are using the different ‘shades of green’. And, of course, we will have the relevant information available at the point of sale when clients are shown the willow casket in our showroom.

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