Advertising Standards Authority passes judgement on Colourful Coffins

Charles 7 Comments



Copied and pasted directly from the ASA website here


Advertising Standards Authority Adjudication on Colourful Coffins Ltd

Colourful Coffins Ltd

Crescent Road


14 March 2012


Internet (on own site), Brochure, Magazine



Number of complaints:


Complaint Ref:



A claim on the Colourful Coffins website, viewed in October 2011, stated “[we] Offer the only 100% recycled cardboard coffin on the market”.  On another page of the website, further text stated “our 100% recycled cardboard coffin”.


Greenfield Creations Ltd challenged whether the claim “100% recycled cardboard” was misleading and could be substantiated.

CAP Code (Edition 12)


Colourful Coffins Ltd confirmed that they used BeeCore cardboard in their coffins and included a letter from their supplier which stated that the “product BeeCore as supplied to all customers consists of paper and starch glue of which the paper is made of 100% post consumer waste paper conforming to EN 643”.  BS EN 643 was the UK version of the European Standard EN 643, which defined grades and combinations of acceptable types of recovered fibre.

Colourful Coffins explained that the claim only related to the fact that the cardboard used in their coffins was made from 100% recycled paper and that they had not stated that the lining paper, used as part of the composition of the cardboard, was also recycled.



The ASA noted the complainant’s argument that no cardboard could be described as 100% recycled because all cardboard required glue for bonding and it was unlikely that the glue used in the product was also recycled.  We also noted that the outer paper used as part of the composition of the cardboard was not recycled.  Whilst we did not consider that the average consumer would take bonding agents into account in their understanding of the claim “100% recycled”, we did consider that as the outer edges of the cardboard were made from non-recycled paper, the claim that the coffins were made from “100% recycled cardboard” had not been substantiated.

We therefore concluded that the claim was misleading.

The claim breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).


The claim must not appear again in its current form.

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11 years ago

Victory for honesty. Hats off to Greenfield for publishing their prices AND supplying to the common man.

Though I’m not so sure about the ASA’s power for dealing with non compliance…

11 years ago

Is this the first of other such judgements on the, less than honest, coffin green-washers! I do hope so.

You know who you are, I know you don’t care, you have said as much to me. All those non-degradable liners, toxic bases and dodgy fittings. If you advertise your coffins as ‘100% environmentally friendly’ This means that the whole, finished coffin should be as advertised, not just the carcass. Shameful.

Charles Cowling
11 years ago

The GFG hopes to make available new information about a less than honest coffin maker, but not the one I think you’re thinking of, Rosie. If you’d like to use this forum to out the company you have in mind, please do. The stage is yours.

11 years ago

Yes, Rosie, and you Charles; the New Environmental Funeral is too easily seen through green tinted spectacles, so let’s get some clarity on this and other related themes. And while we’re at it, can some boffin work out something like a Carbon Footprint Unit (eg: 1 CFU = 1kg emmited carbon x fuel consumption per event) and work out a sliding scale to compare which is actually less harmful to the environment, such as a cardboard coffin cryomated, a chipboard one buried etc, all per Mourner Mile of diesel. I’m tired of being accused of organizing green funerals; I don’t… Read more »

Charles Cowling
11 years ago

Agree, Jonathan. In any case, no matter how ‘green’ a funeral is in terms of merchandise and vehicles, etc, it only needs one griever to fly in from America and you’re shafted.

You may be interested in this ASA adjudication in the matter of JC Atkinson’s carbon footprint claims:

David Holmes
11 years ago

Very funny Charles! And think of all the new clothes and shoes bought for the occasion? It’s hard to see the typical funeral as green. Four litre engined funeral cars, and someone is always flying in from the other side of the world to pay their respects. It puts one in mind of the end of the TV show ‘This is your life’ – there was always one more surprise: Eammon would say ‘You haven’t seen her since she flew off to Perth in 1968, but we’ve flown her 12,000 miles to be with you tonight.’ Cue the music.. BA,… Read more »

11 years ago

just listening.