Plastic enters the funeral business
By Trisha Richards
Plastic manufacturers are digging into the funeral industry by introducing plastic burial vaults and liners to the market. Often cemeteries require a burial vault or liner to enclose a casket in a gra...
Plastic manufacturers are digging into the funeral industry by introducing plastic burial vaults and liners to the market. Often cemeteries require a burial vault or liner to enclose a casket in a grave to prevent the ground from caving in as the casket deteriorates.
Goria Corporation, a North Carolina-based company, debuted Eonian Burial Vault Products at the National Funeral Directors Association’s Expo in October 2004, but had been developing this patented product line, which features double wall plastic burial vaults, for nine years.
Pierre A. Goria II, president of Goria Corporation, says his company is the first to introduce a plastic burial vault that compares to concrete, the current industry-leading material, but is nearly 2000% lighter, weighing under 150 lb. Because of this significant feature, the vault can be set up with less equipment, less men and less damage to the cemetery.
There are also economic benefits from the use of plastic vaults right now, says Goria.
“There was no better time for us to introduce this product because concrete prices went up this year by at least 10%, and steel rose even more so than concrete,” he explains. “If you compare our basic burial vault to others on the market, the funeral director would sell ours for $1200US. The comparable concrete model would sell for over $3000US.”
The plastics industry south of the border isn’t alone in realizing its place in the funeral business.
Everest Plastik Inc., which operates in Tracadie-Sheila, NB, says it recognized the need to offer alternative solutions to the funeral industry in 1999. At that time, customers had expressed concerns to funeral homes about water-tightness and durability of the casket liners available. The company’s first product in reply to those concerns was the Great Spirit casket liner.
In January 2005, Everest Plastik introduced its newly designed Great Spirit II Plastic Burial Vault, which can be nested to maximize the use of shipping and storage space and features an easy top-to-base interlocking system.
Both Goria Corporation and Everest Plastik Inc. use rotational molding and polyethylene to manufacture their products.
Since introducing his products, Goria says he has been trying to keep up with the “overwhelming” response from the market. “My hope is I’ll be able to keep up with the (manufacturing) demand until I get another plant up and running.” He says he plans to expand by franchising his idea out to concrete vault manufacturers.
However, the market does not appear to be booming yet in Canada. The Funeral Service Association of Canada says funeral directors haven’t been getting a lot requests for plastic vaults thus far.