- Minimize packaging before we go to Burning Man
- Not dump untreated graywater on the playa or in the porta-potties (gray water = shower water, dish water)
- Not spit toothpaste on the playa
- Use porta-potties exactly and only for body waste. Toothpaste is OK in the porta-pottie (if you can get past the idea of brushing your teeth in an outhouse)
- Not burn anything on the playa. Use a burn platform for burnable debris (paper, wood), or a Burning Man approved firepit.
- Not dig holes in the playa except as required to secure a structure (e.g. for rebar).
- Not bring any of the following:
- pistachios or any other nuts in shells
- feather boas or other clothing with bits that can come off in the wind
- loose glitter or glitter glued to artwork unless it is sealed with a clearcoat (e.g. clear krylon spraypaint).
- confetti or anything like it! Bad! No!!
- clothing or artwork with bits that always fly off in the wind
- individually wrapped candies (generates lots of tiny trash)
- meaningless schwag — our gift to the community is our theme camp and our projects. We won’t be giving away tiny trinkets. We believe in a gift economy — not a barter economy. We don’t need extra things to trade. We are always well-stocked with tools and supplies, and we offer their use freely without any expectation for anything in return. Well, we’d like our tools returned… 😉
Opportunities to even the score
The truth is that despite our best efforts some of our debris will blow away, or some gift we give someone will end up releasing or becoming debris. So we need to actively look for opportunities to even the score before we can achieve anything close to zero net impact.
- We Pick up MOOP (matter-out-of-place) wherever we see it
- We find a gentle way to raise the awareness of anyone else who litters. Maybe just smile and say “Here, let me pick that up for you.”
- We bring a trashbag sometimes when we go adventuring.
A group of us will remain until the final day of Burning Man. Those that do will comprise the final camp cleanup team. The cleanup team has the responsibility to complete the cleanup of our camp. At that point it should not be a huge amount of work because every one of us will have cleaned up our own area. We are each of us the cleanup team for our own camping spot.
The cleanup team will:
- Make a shoulder-to-shoulder sweep of the entire camp and our annex camp if we have one. We will pick up anything that isn’t playa or a black rock.
- Rake and scrape the surface of our camp to help remove dust covered debris and even out any unnatural piles and fill small holes. We also sweep the entire camp with a magnetic bar attached to the back of the rake, to pick up nuts and bolts, etc.
Handling Gray Water
We collect all our treatable gray water and treat it with a combination of filtration and chemicals, so it is safe and sane to pour on the roads. We collect the rest of our gray and waste water and bring it back to an RV park where we dump it in an appropriate sewer for proper water treatment. Untreatable gray water includes shower water that may contain glitter or body paint, kitchen water, etc. We bring 5-gallon buckets with lids to contain our gray water. WE ABSOLUTELY NEVER POUR OUR GRAY WATER IN THE PORTA-POTTIES!! We only treat shower water that is free of glitter and body paint. We collect gray water separately from each shower, so we can make a choice on a shower-by-shower basis as to whether the gray water is treatable or not. Click here for complete details on our water handling technique.
We use heavy-duty garbage bags to contain the lighter duty “kitchen” bags we use in our domes and tents. We secure our large garbage bags inside our kitchen dome, or in the small storage dome, to prevent any chance of their blowing away. We also try to minimize how much trash we do produce, by minimizing packaging, using crushable packaging, buying in bulk, etc.
As operators of an interactive venue at Burning Man, we end up carting out far more garbage than that which we create ourselves. Especially in the last few days we end up with more than our fair share of debris we didn’t create. We always leave extra room in our vehicles for the return trip so we can take away this extra debris, which we take to the dump.