Eco Friendly Materials Used
Bamboo has been used through history, not only for its strength but because it is readily renewable. While wood is becoming ever more scarce (a tree can take up to sixty years to grow, so replacing it will take another sixty years), some species of bamboo take as little as sixty days to mature completely to the height and with of an average tree.
Moreover, bamboo is incredibly strong, with a tensile strength greater than that of steel. In southern China, for example, a 300-metre long suspension bridge spanning a canyon is suspended from bamboo cables, with not a single metal nail, screw or bolt employed in its construction.
Technically a tall and hearty grass, bamboo is thought to have originated in China, where records dating back more than 7000 years describe it as being used to create many products, among them arrows, building materials and paper.
Believed to have originated in the jungles of Asia, the banana plant is generally considered a tree; however, it is actually the world’s largest herb. The main stem of the banana plant, which can reach a height of up to eight metres, is not actually formed of wood but, rather, of tightly coiled leaves. Serendipity’s banana coffins are made using dried leaves that shed each year once the tree has produced its fruit and the stem is cut back.
Pandanus (or ‘wild pineapple’) is an environmentally friendly alternative to seagrass. The latter is an aquatic plant that grows in shallow coastal waters and provides shelter for many species of nursery fish. Harvesting seagrass, therefore, destroys habitat and endangers many fish species. Pandanus, meanwhile, is a prolific, rapidly growing weed that thrives on land, even in adverse conditions. When woven, it is almost indistinguishable from seagrass.
Rattan is a naturally renewable palm that grows in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australasia.
Rattan is an attractive resource, – its easier to harvest than timber and easier to transport. It grows faster than most tropical wood. It is strong, lightweight and durable and can be worked into many styles of furniture and handicrafts.
Rattan continues to be an invaluable part of rural people’s livelihoods in South and South East Asia. It provides a source of income to rural communities and allows them to become stewards and guardians of their forests and biodiversity.
Willow is a truly sustainable resource, in that it can grow up three metres a year and, once harvested, regenerate within 12 months. Nearly all species of willow take root very readily from cuttings or even broken branches lying on the ground. For centuries, the strength, beauty and practicality of willow have enhanced our homes and lives. In fact, willow coffins are by no means a novel idea. In the late 19th century Sir Frances Haden developed a wicker coffin designed to be topped up with flowers or earth;thus, it had no lid.
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