Sustainable English Willow
SUSTAINABILITY AND OUR HERITAGE WILLOW
What makes Sussex Willow Coffins a truly sustainable, environmentally friendly and ethical choice?
We’re planting willow!
Providing sustainable heritage willow for the future…
A major aim of our company, is to see more land in the UK being used for sustainable willow cultivation. 2016 – 2017 has seen three English Willow plots planted on the Weald Ridge and in the Sussex lowlands.
Our plots holds some 13 different heritage willow varieties, carefully selected and sourced from the “National Willows Collection” in Hertfordshire. We aim to supply all of our own willow for coffin making, grown organically in Sussex.
Here’s why we are passionate about planting willow…
- Willow plantations create attractive natural habitats – For a variety of native birds, insects and other wildlife.
- Willow cultivation is a heritage craft in itself – Growing practices and genetic stock need preserving and developing for future generations.
- Local material sourcing – We want to reduce the carbon footprint of our wicker coffins, the less miles our willow has travelled the better.
- Production of craft materials in Sussex – By growing good quality craft willow, we can offer opportunity to other local willow crafts-people.
- Our home-grown willow is produced naturally and organically with no pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertiliser.
We are always on the lookout for new sites in the South East to plant heritage willow on, if you know of any potential opportunities please contact us.
Local trade and ethical material sourcing
Our wicker coffins contains:
- 2000 willow rods grown in Sussex and Somerset.
- 8 large willow rods grown in Sussex
- 3 pieces larch grown in Sussex
- 5 pieces ash timber grown in Sussex
We are always looking to improve our carbon footprint and reduce the distance that materials for our coffins have travelled. Our aim is to source all of our coffin making materials in the local area, within the next few years.
We only buy material from UK producers that employ sustainable forestry and agricultural practices.
Natural and Ecological
Here is why our coffins are so environmentally friendly:
- Our wicker coffins are completely biodegradable, they are made almost entirely of willow and local native timber – no glue, boards or industrially processed materials. Suitable coffins for woodland burial, natural burial sites, cremation and traditional burial.
- The making of these caskets will support English Willow growing and habitat creation for wild animals and insects. We are always seeking to convert more land in the UK, for the purposes of growing willow coppice and further sustainable willow cultivation in the future.
- We include lots of untreated natural willow within our wicker coffin designs, which has the bark on as opposed to being boiled or stripped. As well as looking great, this willow has the lowest embodied energy of all the craft willows, due to no mechanical stripping or boiling being required.
- Sussex Willow Coffins produce a clean, chemical-free vapour during the cremation process, made almost entirely out of woven willow, unlike some common counterparts which include veneered chipboard in the design.
Retaining heritage crafts
Protecting and preserving our heritage
Willow weaving has a long history in the United Kingdom, largely due to the fact that wicker once packaged nearly all of our goods, before the advent of plastics and other modern packaging materials.
The same wicker-craft techniques and traditions are used in our handmade willow coffins, as those used by our ancestors hundreds of years ago. It is important to maintain these skills and pass them on to future generations, otherwise our wealth of wisdom and cultural heritage could be lost. Our aim is also to teach and train a new generation of willow crafts-people, to keep this heritage craft alive and suited to the modern world.
“My passion is to keep alive the knowledgebase that we have inherited from past generations, in the growing of willow and the skills of willow weaving” JW