Plastic-wrapped corpses are a grave hazard for Norway's cemeteries


There is simply nothing more irksome than a corpse that won't decompose. Especially for Norwegian funeral directors, who are now dealing with a rather macabre predicament: thousands of plastic-wrapped dead bodies that are occupying precious real estate in the country's graveyards.

Over a 30-year period following World War II, Norway wrapped dead bodies in plastic before burying them. But the country also frequently reuses grave sites in an effort to save space — and corpses shrouded in plastic don't readily decompose. Since laws prevent plastic-wrapped bodies from being disturbed, the phenomenon has led to overcrowded cemeteries with little room for expansion. As The Wall Street Journal explains, desperate local officials are now relying on a chemical elixir that catalyzes decomposition while keeping graves intact. "You may say," one noted, "[that] wrapping people in plastic was the result of some pretty poor planning." Indeed.

The Verge
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.