Sri Lanka produces cardboard coffins amid COVID surge

This box factory in Sri Lanka is now making a special product - cardboard coffins.

They are made out of recycled paper and cost a sixth of the cheapest wooden casket.

With the country reporting record high coronavirus-related deaths lately, the cardboard coffin, which costs about $22, has become an affordable option for poor families who have lost their loved ones.

The idea came from local government official, Priyantha Sahabandu:

"About six months ago we presented a sample made by this company and got approval from the council. With the spread of the coronavirus, people found it difficult to pay for expensive wooden coffins."

A cardboard coffin can hold up to around 220 lbs, and can be put together in about 30 minutes.

Initially the coffins were mostly used for for COVID-19 victims, but they are also a "greener" option.

And have become increasingly popular among those who are more environmentally conscious.

"The cardboard coffins reduce the number of trees being cut, the amount of gas and electricity needed to cremate these coffins is also much less than for wooden coffins. To generate electricity you need to burn diesel and that releases carbon into the environment."

Sri Lanka announced a total lockdown on Friday (August 20) for ten days to curb the renewed surge in COVID-19 cases.

The country recorded its highest daily death toll of 198, also on Friday.