Interviews · · 5 min read

Meet Transcend, an Innovative Green Burial Startup Helping You Become a Tree When You Die

In Episode 154 of the Disruptors for Good podcast, we speak with Matthew Kochmann, founder and CEO of Transcend, on the green burial movement and helping people and pets become trees when they die. Listen to more Causeartist podcasts. What is a Green Burial? A green burial, also known as a natural b

Meet Transcend, a Green Burial Startup Helping You Become a Tree When You Die

In Episode 154 of the Disruptors for Good podcast, we speak with Matthew Kochmann, founder and CEO of Transcend, on the green burial movement and helping people and pets become trees when they die.

Listen to more Causeartist podcasts.

What is a Green Burial?

A green burial, also known as a natural burial or eco-friendly burial, is a type of burial that involves minimal impact on the environment. This typically involves using only natural materials to bury the body and avoid using any toxic chemicals or processes.

There are many different reasons why someone might choose a green burial instead of a traditional burial. Some people believe that this type of burial is more respectful of the natural world and can help to preserve the environment.

Others simply prefer the simple, natural process over more traditional funerary practices.

What is a Tree Burial?

Our bodies are filled with hyper-rich nutrients that go to waste when cremated or buried in a casket. Finally, there’s a better way to repurpose our bodies by returning them to the earth to feed and nourish forest ecosystems for decades.

Transcend’s Tree Burial™ process utilizes a unique fungi-enriched soil mixture that facilitates a direct connection between the nutrient-rich body and the root system of the tree planted above.

In this way, the body can biologically become the tree, creating and sustaining life for everything around it.

How Tree Burials Work?

  1. The body is adorned in 100% organic biodegradable flax linen.
  2. It is then lowered onto a bed of locally upcycled wood chips that help maintain optimal oxygen levels in the soil, creating the ideal environment for decomposition.
  3. Transcend’s unique blend of mycorrhizal-enriched fungi, soil, and wood chips is spread above the body to ensure the tree will derive essential nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus directly from it.
  4. A young tree of your choice, hand-selected for longevity, beauty and location, is then planted above the body. The fungi create a direct network between the body and the tree’s roots so that the body’s nutrients can feed the tree and help it grow. In this way, your biology literally becomes the tree.
  5. The vast fungal network connects your tree to the entire forest. This means if you are planted near your family, you will literally remain connected forever, supporting an entire ecosystem of life, together in a beautiful forest your people can visit for generations.

Tree Burials for Pets

Tree Burials for Pets

More than 70% of pets are discarded at the vet’s office after being put down. Transcend’s Tree Burial Kit for Pets allows for a more purposeful and eco-friendly way to do right by your pet while bringing new life to their memory.

Transcend’s DIY Tree Burial Kit allows you to plant your pet as a beautiful tree near home, so you can always keep them close.

pet burial kit

The Kit includes:

  • Organic, biodegradable flax linen carrier used to both carry and bury your pet (currently available in Small (0-40 lbs) and Large (41-90 lbs) sizes).
  • Transcend’s unique blend of fungi-enriched soil that ensures a direct connection between body and tree.
  • Step-by-step Tree Burial guide.
  • 25 trees planted worldwide in your pet’s honor.

Transcend offers free express shipping on all orders, and recommends purchasing a kit to have on-hand as your pet ages. When the time comes, you’ll be able to bring the carrier with you to the vet for extra support. In the meantime, we’ll start planting trees on your pet’s behalf today.

Traditional Burials vs Transcend Green Burials

  • As a result of traditional burials, 20 million feet of wood, 4.3 million gallons of embalming fluids, 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete, 17,000 tons of copper and bronze, and 64,500 tons of steel are put into the ground each year (Green Burial Council).
  • Cremation, once marketed as an eco-conscious alternative to traditional burials, releases approximately 600 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
    • Tree Burial sequesters 5.8x more CO2 than a cremation emits.
  • Theoretical design projects like Capsula Mundi and Coeio’s Mushroom Suit have gone viral, capturing public attention around the concept of Tree Burial, only to leave consumers disappointed that they’re not viable solutions on the market. 
  • Other emerging green burial options – like natural organic reduction and alkaline hydrolysis– are not carbon negative, and involve steps (like the use of a cremulator) that are somewhat invasive to the body. They’re also not legal in all fifty states.
    • Transcend is finally making natural Tree Burial real and accessible.
In Episode 154 of the Disruptors for Good podcast, we speak with Matthew Kochmann, founder and CEO of Transcend, on the green burial movement and helping people and pets become trees when they die.

About Matthew Kochmann

From a young age, Matthew Kochmann faced medical and mental health challenges that forced him to confront his own mortality, awakening a lifelong fascination with how humans relate to the mystery of death.

In an attempt to integrate a more accepting approach, he turned to nature… Matthew found solace and inspiration in the central tenets of the American Transcendentalism movement forged by Emerson along with the ancient Vedic philosophies of India: that all living things are interconnected, even after death.

While poetic, he was emboldened to learn that this is also scientifically true in the natural world; when an organism is returned to the earth, it creates more life for everything around it.

With a Landscape Architecture degree from Cornell University, a track record of success as a serial entrepreneur, and experience as a land developer, it’s only natural that Matthew is bringing Tree Burial into existence.

Creating values-aligned impact for the collective has always been his primary aspiration. Most notably, as employee #7 at Uber, he led the charge in transforming NYC’s antiquated and offline taxi industry, only to ultimately walk away from a life-changing amount of equity over ethical concerns.

Matthew’s unique blend of regulatory and real estate knowledge, infused with a spiritually-inspired passion for the environment makes him the ideal steward for the Future Tree movement.

About Transcend

Transcend is the first company dedicated to reforesting the world by planting people (and pets) as trees when they die. Launching in October 2022, Transcend’s unique Tree Burial™ process is a climate change solution that repurposes the most life-giving natural resource known to mankind: our bodies.

A bold, carbon negative alternative to caskets and cremation, Tree Burial creates life from death by returning people to the earth naturally so their biology can literally live on as a tree.

Transcend is pioneering the Future Tree movement to help people cultivate a healthier relationship with their mortality and the planet. By using nature as a vehicle, Tree Burial reminds us that endings are always beginnings.

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