In a “green burial” or “natural burial,” there is no concrete, metal, toxic carcinogens (such as formaldehyde), or other unnatural materials allowed. We perform burials in the same fashion our ancestors performed them for thousands of years. The “traditional” burial style, specifically predominate here in the South, which requires concrete vaults, caskets made of unnatural materials, embalmed bodies, etc., has only become common practice within the last couple hundred years.
There are many advantages to green burial that appeal to people for a wide range of reasons. To start with the most apparent, it is by far the most environmentally responsible decision one can make concerning their final wishes. Why should we be burying 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete, 107,000 tons of steel and copper, and 5.3 million gallons of toxic embalming fluid every year in the United States? These commonplace “traditions” that have been adopted are not a sustainable option nor do they serve a necessary purpose. Simplicity is another huge benefit of green burial. What we offer is as straightforward and simple as it gets. Processing the death of a family member or friend is already stressful enough. We believe the added stress of elaborate funeral plans, pressured sales, and expensive bills is unnecessary. A byproduct of cutting out the unnecessary materials and stressful routines is that green burial also happens to be significantly less expensive than other burial options, and even most cremation options. Our burial plots are 4 times larger than the vast majority of other cemeteries, yet our burials cost 3-10 times less than almost every other cemetery in South Carolina.
Our transparence and simplicity are unheard of in this industry.
If you want to know the expense of being buried at our cemetery, we put our prices right out in the open for everyone to see. We don’t believe in the whole “call us to schedule a tour and learn more about pricing…” We have no interest in making a sale. Our interest lies in helping families make wise decisions.
We don’t believe in the “prestige” of having a large staff or a fancy office. If you have questions about the cemetery, or just want to talk to someone about the process, you’ll most likely speak directly with the owner, Michael Bishop. There are not many other businesses out there that you can call the owner directly on his cell phone.
The owner and/or his son perform the actual burials. Interesting fact: Most cemeteries don’t perform burials themselves. They pay a company to open and close the graves. All you’re purchasing from these cemeteries is the right to use a tiny piece of real estate. This is why, in addition to the plot price, they charge you an opening and closing fee. Dust to Dust does not charge an opening and closing fee. The price of our plots is the price of the entire burial. With Dust to Dust, you’re paying for a service.
We don’t charge more money for “at-need” situations vs. “pre-need” situations. It is common practice for a cemetery and/or funeral home to charge more money when handling “at-need” requests, meaning that someone has already passed but has not yet paid for arrangements. We don’t believe in preying upon people in this way. Our price is the same, regardless of situation.
Given that the cemetery is located down a dirt road, out in the country, surrounded by family-owned farmland, we would have to say that it is one of the most peaceful and beautiful cemeteries in the state. We work hard to keep the property as natural as possible. There’s just something different about visiting our cemetery, getting away from traffic, and being able to personally landscape a loved one’s plot with flowers, shrubs, trees, and other natural materials. For some, this ability and environment serves to aid in the grieving process.
When you visit the cemetery, you’ll see what sets us apart and you’ll know if our cemetery is right for you.
We do not believe in the concept of “perpetual care.” It is simply impossible for a business or individual to guarantee that for perpetuity someone will be out at their cemetery cutting the grass. We do not support the idea of selling people based on empty promises. What we’ve done instead is zone the land as both a cemetery and nature reserve. We make no promises that someone will be out cutting the grass at the cemetery in 200 years. What we can promise is that we’ve done everything in our power to protect the land from ever being developed or used for any purpose outside of being a nature reserve and cemetery.
When Michael Bishop, owner of Dust to Dust, began planning his own final arrangements, he was bothered by the fact that, although his family left him cemetery plots, his surviving family would still owe over $4,000 to the cemetery for various fees and required purchases. Michael began researching the process of being buried on his family farm. The more he learned about the laws, the more he thought to himself, “I can’t be the only person that just wants to be buried without all the unnecessary stuff?”. And thus, Dust to Dust Green Burial / Nature Reserve Cemetery opened on September 1, 2009.
The cemetery is owned and operated by Michael Bishop. If you want to talk to someone about the cemetery, Michael will most likely be the one to come out (probably wearing jeans and a t-shirt) and meet with you. Michael also performs the burials. Luke Bishop, Michael’s son, has been around the business since day one and assists with performing burials. Holly Randolph, Michael’s assistant, handles all the record keeping and office management. Anything to do with paperwork or computers, Holly will most likely be behind it.
When making such a long-term decision, we absolutely understand wanting to know what the future looks like for the company you want to do business with. Luke Bishop, Michael’s oldest son, has been involved with the cemetery since it was founded. He knows the ins and outs of how the business operates and understands the identity of Dust to Dust. Luke will inherit the cemetery from Michael and will carry on with operations. Should something happen to both Michael and Luke, there are trained individuals which will step up to carry on operations as seamlessly as possible.
When Michael started the cemetery, he had a biologist come out and evaluate the property. He was interested in knowing how large the plots would need to be to avoid killing the trees that were already present. It was determined that 8’ x 10’ would be a safe spacing to preserve enough of the trees’ roots as to not kill or significantly weaken the trees. A bonus of the large plot size is that it gives families and friends an opportunity to landscape and make their loved ones’ plot unique.
We are not at all concerned about space limitation. The areas totally surrounding the cemetery are owned by the Bishop’s and have the ability to be zoned as cemetery and nature reserve as well. Although we’ve done hundreds of burials and are on track to do hundreds more in the next couple years, we have yet to use even a small fraction of the available, already paid for land.
One of our main priorities is to maintain the natural look and feel of the cemetery. We want the cemetery to feel more like a peaceful nature reserve or park than a graveyard. With this comes the unfortunate responsibility of enforcing rules and regulations concerning the types of items that can be placed at the cemetery. Plots may not be decorated with any materials that are plastic, concrete, ceramic, tile, painted, stained, polished, metal, cut lumber, etc. All items used must be in a natural state. Essentially, if you can go out in nature and find whatever item you’re wanting to put at the cemetery, it is more than likely allowed. Families and friends can plant flowers, bushes, and trees. They can landscape using logs, sticks, mulch, and rocks. Some even choose to put out corn for deer and other unique items. If you ever have a question about whether a particular item is allowed, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are happy to guide you in the right direction.
Yes. If you have already purchased an 8’x10’ burial plot from us, your dog, cat, or other small animal can be buried on your plot at Dust to Dust at no further cost to you. Pet plots for owners who have not purchased an 8’ x 10’ burial plot can be purchased for $500. These plots are 4’ x 5’.
Yes. We offer individual cremation plots for $300. These plots are 32” x 30”. Any 8’ x 10’ burial plot purchaser can agree to allow the cremains of anyone to be buried on their plot at no further cost as well. For example, if a husband wishes to be naturally buried and his wife would like to be cremated, the husband can purchase his 8’ x 10’ burial plot and specify that his wife’s cremains are to be buried on his plot.
Yes. Financing is available with us for pre-need contracts for as low as $25 per month. If you would like to finance with us, you will need to submit a minimum of $25 with your signed Dust to Dust Contract and signed Rules and Regulations pages. A minimum of $25 will then be due by the same date each month until the account is paid in full. Checks should be sent to Dust to Dust Cemetery, PO Box 277, Swansea, SC 29160. Balance must be paid in full prior to using the plot. Should the account become 90 days late, the contract is void and reimbursements will not be given. Dust to Dust will send quarterly statements indicating your remaining balance.
When a family chooses not to hire a licensed funeral director, a family member or friend of the deceased must act as the funeral director. The following steps will become the responsibility of the acting funeral director. If you have any questions about this process, we would be glad to guide you through everything that will need to be handled.
1) A Burial-Removal-Transit Permit (BRT), which allows the body to be transported by the person you designate, will need to be issued by the county coroner. You may want to contact your county coroner in advance if you have any questions about this process.
2) The acting funeral director will need to contact the transporter of the body. Keep in mind it is within a family’s right to do transport themselves. The transporter and the cemetery will coordinate the burial plans along with the family.
3) The family will need to decide whether it is desired to purchase a biodegradable casket or shroud. The acting funeral director will be responsible for the purchasing of or building of the casket or shroud.
4) Newspapers will need to be contacted by the acting funeral director to have an obituary printed, if desired. Your family will need to contact us regarding this, as deaths must be verified before obituaries can be printed. We recommend emailing the obituary, as well as any pictures you would like to include, to be posted on our Facebook page at no cost.
5) The acting funeral director will need to submit a signed Dust to Dust Contract, if one is not already on file, along with the signed Rules and Regulations, signed Acting Funeral Director form, and payment in full prior to the burial.
6) The acting funeral director will be responsible for coordinating the day and time of the burial with the cemetery and family, as well as coordinating any funeral, graveside, or memorial services.
7) Finally, the acting funeral director will need to file for the death certificate. This process will be similar across different states, although the terminology may be slightly different. For filing in South Carolina: The acting funeral director must file for the death certificate within 5 days of the death. We will provide you with the “South Carolina Certificate of Death Non-Funeral Home Worksheet.” This filled out worksheet, along with the BRT we will provide to you, must be taken to DHEC’s Vital Records Office for filing. The address of DHEC’s main Vital Records Office is 2600 Bull St, Columbia, SC 29201. DHEC also has regional offices throughout the state, although they might not be as familiar with the process of having a non-licensed funeral director file for the death certificate. You may want to call your regional office in advance to ensure they are equipped to handle your request. Death certificates cost $12.00 for the first copy and $3 for each additional copy. While we cannot file the death certificate for you, we can answer any questions you may have about the process.