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St. Paul coffin maker offers less-expensive, green solution for burials

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Traditional American funerals don't come cheap. From the flowers to the casket, the average cost is more than $6,500, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.

Affordable Coffins & Artery in St. Paul's west side seeks to keep the price of burying a loved one to a minimum.

"If you want to be buried in a $20,000 Cadillac, go for it," owner Mike Zoff tells the Pioneer Press. "We just happen to be on the other end of things and we go for sensibility."

Zoff specializes in a simpler, more cost-effective "vehicle" to transport bodies called a trundle, which is basically a wooden tray with rope handles for less than $200.

NFDA's stats show the average metal casket is nearly $2,300.

The trundle is also made from biodegradable supplies for the environmentally-conscious, or "green," consumers.

The newspaper reports the metro has at least two cemeteries, Mound Cemetery of Brooklyn Center and Prairie Oaks Memorial Eco Gardens in Inver Grove Heights that allow green burials.

To have a green burial, the embalming process is skipped and the coffin needs to be biodegradable and free of metal parts, the newspaper reports. Or you can ditch the coffin altogether and be put into the ground wrapped in a cloth.

Only three trundles have sold so far.

A nearby funeral home tells the Pioneer Press that they haven't seen a huge demand for naturals burials and cremation is usually associated with green funerals.

A funeral home in Stillwater became the first in Minnesota to offer green cremation, according to a KARE 11 report. The liquid process reduces carbon footprint by 75 percent and eliminates mercury emissions from dental fillings. It costs about $2,300, the same as fire cremation.

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