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There is no garbage collection service at Burning Man. Every camp is responsible for its refuse. We are ALL responsible for trash in Black Rock City. Trash is EVERYTHING you bring here: tent stakes, bottle caps, ashes, wood debris, orange peels, cigarette butts, pistachio shells, rope fibers, sequins–even abandoned bikes. Use a tarp under firewood, construction areas, kitchens and other areas with small and potentially loose materials. Do not put trash in the portable toilets. Even small trash will clog the cleaning hose for the potty. The toilet will fill and can’t be emptied. When you see trash on the ground in BRC, pick it up and take it with you! Better yet, prevent trash from happening. MOOP attracts more MOOP. Observe these simple rules: Never let it hit the ground and clean as you go.



Special reminders for 2011:

  • Use greener, more sustainable products such as salvaged wood and materials for your structures, alternative fuels, energy efficient lighting, and wind and solar energy.

  • If it wasn’t made by your body, don’t put it in the potty: NO TAMPONS, TRASH, CIGARETTE BUTTS, ETC.

  • Secure your load! Pack carefully and make sure your trash and other items do not come loose on the ride home and litter our highways.

  • Please join your neighbors on Sunday and Monday after the burn and schedule two hours on your own during your stay to help clean up BRC. The Earth Guardians in Center Camp can help steer you to a cleanup project. Rake your own camp and conduct a MOOP sweep to inspect your space. Make sure that you’ll be green on the MOOP map.

  • Bring your own mugto the Center Camp Café for coffee and tea. For your other beverages, don’t forget that there are no recycle bins in the Café. If you bring your own bottled or canned beverages to the Café, please take the drink containers back to your camp or visit Recycle Camp where you can crush and recycle your aluminum cans.

  • Do not dump grey water on to the playa. See the grey water section for collection, treatment, and disposal alternatives.

  • No plants They die on the playa and make a MOOPy mess. Artificial plants, especially those made from recycled materials, look great and won’t cause MOOP in high winds. Leave anything at home (living or dead) that will break up and blow away.

Leave No Trace Planning

In addition to overall event site cleanup on Sunday and Monday, we ask that all camps walk their occupied area on a grid pattern to effectively identify and remove all stray MOOP — both organic and inorganic. Do not dump any grey water on the playa. We recommend the last person leaving self-identify as the “final” Leave No Trace monitor for your camp. This person should coordinate with the camp’s “Leave No Trace planner” during the event. Our permit allows for a very short time to restore the playa to its original condition. We can ONLY satisfy the BLM stipulations of our permit and pass inspections if all citizens share in the responsibility and MOOP sweep their own camps.

Waste Reduction and Recycle Resolutions:

  1. Practice the 6 R's: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Respect & Restore!!!

  2. Choose non-glass containers. Never throw glass in fires. It will shatter and create a miserable pickup chore. If you bring bottles, take them home with you and recycle them there(only aluminum can are recyclable in BRC).

  3. Separate trash. Bring mesh bags to dehydrate wet garbage/compostables or a 5-gallon sealable bucket to store wet trash. This will isolate and reduce the burden of rotting food refuse. Burnable trash should be separated from recyclable materials.

  4. THINK AHEAD! Remove unnecessary product packaging before you leave home. Choose less messy menu items (finger foods). Avoid leftovers (feed your neighbors and make friends). Bring pre-cooked food (store in zip-type bags for easy-to-eat food on the run). You can use your car’s front dash as a solar cooker to heat cold or frozen foods.

  5. Reuse containers. Bring water in large containers and mix drinks on the playa. For example, concentrated juice may be purchased in 12 ounce plastic bottles or in powdered form. Mix this into a gallon water jug and use the original concentrate bottle to drink out of over and over again.

    Recycle Camp

  6. Choose crushable aluminum cans over plastic and glass. Bring aluminum cans to Recycle Camp. For more information see: Recycle Camp's web page.

  7. Bring your own reusable beverage container to the Café or cocktail parties–ideally one you can attach to your outfit wherever you go. A mug with a loop handle works. You can use your own clean, reusable cup if you purchase coffee and other beverages at the Center Camp Café.

  8. The DPW is NOT accepting water donations this year.Do not leave water at the Gate as you leave. Plan as accurately as possible, but if you have excess and must dispose of it, use it as dust abatement for your campsite by evenly distributing a shallow layer of water on the playa (not the road) or wash your windshield before you leave.

  9. Instead of burning or tossing them, salvage reuse and recycle your camp's shade structure and other materials. Recycle usable wood at stations manned by Burner Without Borders volunteers! See the Got Wood? section for more info.

  10. Consider more energy efficient, reusable lights (instead of "single-use" glow sticks) and alternative fuels such as biodiesel, to light and power your camp!

Top 11 MOOP Avoidance TIPS: (MOOP = Matter Out Of Place)

  1. Prepare a Leave No Trace/ Green Plan, not just a clean up plan, for your camp. You’ll have a happier playa life and less to clean up and restore at the end of the week.

  2. Clean as you go (you won’t see it later as layers of dust accumulate). Monitoring your camp daily for litter will keep errant trash from getting buried in dust storms only to resurface during the Spring inspection.

  3. Put a weight on or tie down anything in your camp that can blow away.

  4. Don't throw anything on the ground. Why stop and stoop for it later?

  5. Smokers: Carry a portable ashtray (such as a sealable receptacle) with you at all times, or put butts in your pocket. NEVER, EVER drop butts on the playa or in public areas like the Café or porta-potties. Stop making cigarette butts the #1 MOOP item.

  6. Don’t bring cheap trinkets for gifts that you wouldn’t want to receive, and don’t bring loose glitter or feather boas.

  7. Clean your campsite in a grid pattern with campmates before leaving. Remove EVERYTHING.

  8. When unloading firewood, or drilling/cutting any wood or PVC, put a tarp or drop cloth down on the playa surface first.

  9. For collecting and containing broken glass, nails screws and sharp objects: Take an empty plastic water jug and cut the top off (3” hole) so that the handle remains intact. Don’t forget gloves. For dust that has glass, wood chips, bark or anything too small to pick up, sweeping up with a push broom into a dust pan and depositing in a bucket for disposal at home is best.

  10. If you plan to use a burn barrel, bring a shovel and metal containers to scoop up and remove any ashes.

  11. Put a pan or secured tarp under your vehicle to catch any fluids that may leak out onto the open playa.

BURNING : Playa Protection And Public Pyres


Burn Scar Prevention
A burn scar is a discoloration of the surface soil caused by chemical changes in the minerals due to contact with fire. They can last for many years, over time they form bumps, which are hazardous to vehicles. Volunteers have spent thousands of hours cleaning up burn scars from past Burning Man events and continue to do so. The most effective way to eliminate burn scars is not to start fires directly on the playa surface. A fireplace, burn barrel or barbeque (in permitted areas only) can be effective for small fires. The BLM will issue citations for burning anything directly on the playa surface. Don’t burn anything that isn’t yours, or other people’s artwork. If they want their art burned, they’ll do it themselves and you can watch.

Public Burn Pyres
For those that have something larger to burn, use the Public Burn Pyres at the ends of some of the radial streets, about 100 ft. out from the Esplanade. These are the only places where open fires may occur. The burning of toxic materials such as couches, stuffed furniture, rugs, PVC, etc. is prohibited by law. This includes anything synthetic that will release toxic dioxins, formaldehyde and nasty fumes into the air. You are responsible for taking these things home. Burn only clean untreated wood or paper and nothing oversized that will spill ash or burning debris onto the playa.

Don't overload the Public Burn Pyres. If it's usable lumber drop it off with Burners Without Borders so they can donate it to Habitat for Humanity (see "GOT WOOD?" below). Have tools on hand to break down and cut up larger pieces or take them home to recycle them for your structure next year! If you plan to do any burning: see Burn Scars.

Burn your Art?
Different levels of Fire Art require different levels of responsibilities, safety procedures and precautions. See Fire Art Safety Guidelines for more information.

Questions about burn pyres and burn scar prevention should be sent to fire-art (at) burningman (dot) com.

Digging Holes

Do not excavate holes in the playa. Small holes (6 inches or less in diameter & less than 2 feet deep) used for structural support are the sole exception. When digging such a hole it is best to use an auger or a posthole digger, NOT a shovel. Bag the dirt you are removing so that it does not blow away in the wind. Refill the hole by carefully tamping the soil back into place. Repeat this process every few inches while dampening the soil. An inverted sledgehammer works well. Experience has shown that the larger holes easily erode within a year’s time, even when carefully backfilled. They leave a visible mark and create a serious safety hazard to drivers throughout the rest of the year.

Earth Guardians And Recycle Camp at the event

If you’d like to learn about the Black Rock Desert, Leave No Trace and green practices, or take part in the ongoing cleanup effort during the event, please stop by the Earth Guardian camp on the Esplanade, near Center Camp. They educate and inspire the citizens of Black Rock City to embrace the best Leave No Trace practices so that the need for clean up at the end of the event is minimized. Participate in their classes, nature walks, volunteer outreach and restoration efforts. You can also help throughout the week by cleaning the trash fence, MOOPing in communal/public areas, assisting Recycle Camp, , and educating other participants about the Leave No Trace and Clean as You Go principles. Remember, Sunday and Monday are communal cleanup days. Stop by Earth Guardians camp if you don’t know where to help with this effort.

Burners Without Borders

GOT WOOD? Does Your Camp Have Usable Lumber Leftover?

Do you have lumber that you can’t take home and don’t want to burn? Last year Burning Man (and you!) reclaimed over 8 truckloads of wood from the playa. This year we’re going to recover even more. Read the Tip Sheet you receive upon entry to the city and listen to BMIR (94.5 FM) for details on when and where you can recycle your theme camp. Volunteer sorters are much appreciated! Go to Playa Info for more information on volunteering.

Historical Artifacts

The collection, excavation or vandalism of archaeological artifacts is prohibited on public lands. If you find something that appears to be an authentic artifact, contact a Black Rock Ranger. There are a number of Native American and pioneer historical sites in the surrounding Black Rock Desert Region. Burning Man and our crew of BLM-trained volunteers, the Earth Guardians, are committed to assisting the BLM in protecting these areas. Several immigrant wagon-trails crossed the playa, and evidence of the ruts can be seen in some remote areas. Please respect these historical landmarks. If you are curious, please contact the Oregon California Trail Association and join an organized exploration.

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