Going Green


What is a “green burial?” It is an alternative to the traditional burial model which often includes a “protective” or sealed casket, an outside concrete grave box or sealed vault to place the casket in and embalming of the deceased. The “green” approach eliminates all three of these standard elements for a more environmentally responsible end of life choice.

The deceased is generally not embalmed in the green funeral. This eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, principally formaldehyde. The recent introduction of new embalming fluid that does not contain formaldehyde and is completely non-toxic has now made the embalming option available while still meeting the requirements of the Green Burial Council. If the deceased is not embalmed refrigeration is easily accomplished and South Dakota law allows for burial “within a reasonable amount of time.”

The casket or burial shroud must be made of biodegradable materials. Renewable softwoods along with woven wicker and bamboo have become popular materials to use in the casket construction along with linings of cotton and linen. The so called plain pine box would also fit into this designation. The use of this type of casket saves our natural resources which are used to construct the traditional casket made of steel, semi precious metals (such as copper and bronze), and highly finished hardwoods, some of which are becoming increasingly rare (mahogany and black walnut for instance).

The third element in the “green burial” is the placement of the casket or burial shroud directly into the earth. No concrete box or sealed vault is to be used. This returns the deceased to nature in a relatively short time. It also saves resources used in the construction of the vaults.

As an additional benefit to the environmental one this burial option can significantly reduce the cost of a traditional funeral. The fee for opening and closing of the grave is slightly higher as the setup of the gravesite is handled by the Cemetery instead of the vault company. As part of this burial option Mt. Pleasant will plant a tree in the Cemetery in memory of the deceased. Its location will be noted so the family can see it grow in coming years. As with all interments at Mt. Pleasant the use of the Glidden Memorial Chapel for a funeral or commital service is included in the price of a burial space. Please also note that we do not charge a separate “grave maintenance fee” as other Cemeteries in Sioux Falls and we allow burial in a “burial shroud.” Mt. Pleasant is the ONLY Cemetery in Sioux Falls certified by the Green Burial Council. Burial spaces and the opening and closing fee can both be pre-paid over a two year period which locks in the price from future increases. Also, with Mt. Pleasant’s option of two burials in a single space your costs are further reduced. For specific fees refer to our “Services Offered” page. Remember, we brought “Green Burial” to Sioux Falls first. Please check out for further information about this and get the facts. Then give us a call at 339-4760 to explore your options. You will find us flexible, encouraging and easy on your finances.

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Download the Green Policy Statement