In 1667, the English Burial in Wool Act required people to be buried in wool shrouds to stimulate the struggling woolen industry. A. W. Hainsworth and Sons Ltd., a West Yorkshire fabric company, takes the concept to a whole new level with its Natural Legacy coffins and burial urns made of biodegradable woven wool and cotton. “With a U.K. market worth 600,000 coffins a year, and research indicating 50 percent of people want a green funeral, the potential of this product is massive,” says Adam Hainsworth.
Hainsworth worked with the U.K.’s leading coffin manufacturer, J.C. Atkinson and Son, to create the patented Swaledale wool and Wharfedale cotton coffins with recycled cardboard frames. The coffins carry up to 40 stone (560 pounds), and even the packaging is biodegradable. A.W. Hainsworth, a 225-year-old company that makes fabrics for apparel, interiors and technical uses, won the Silver Award in Business Link Yorkshire’s “Bucking the Trend” competition for the Natural Legacy coffins’ eco-friendly attributes.