On Thursday, the Walloon government gave the green light to the use of cardboard and wicker caskets, calling them “more ecological, more economic and making the task of gravediggers more healthy.” Although the use of such material is new for Wallonia, it has already been conclusively tested in other European countries. Valérie De Bue (of the Conservative-Liberal Reformist Movement), the Walloon Minister for Local Government, stressed the point having brought the issue up at regional government level.
She said that cardboard and wicker are both more environmentally friendly and more economical than wood. They also enable gravediggers to work in better conditions, in particular in the case of exhumations, when they have work in areas with a lack of space within cemeteries.
Within this context, it has proven necessary to clearly define which types of casket are permitted for what type of burial. The use of cardboard caskets will thus be allowed in cases of cremation and burial in open ground. On the other hand, these will be prohibited in tombs owing to the release of gas and odours.
Moreover, exhumations will now be restricted to the period between December 1st to March 31st, and will be prohibited – save for judicial exhumations – during the first five years following the burial.
Lastly the text provides for any burial place of a war victim to be considered, in the future, as a burial place of local historical importance. In the case of the death of such a war victim, and beneficiaries of the concession, and in the absence of such beneficiaries, these burial places will be protected and maintained by the public purse for thirty years.