Be A Garbageman
Trash. We all make it. And at Burning Man we all take it!
Burning Man takes its status as the largest Leave No Trace (or LNT) event in the world quite seriously. And so do the Melons. When our camps pack up after the Burn, the playa where we stood should look no different than when we arrived. Pretty cool, right? But it takes some work, and we need all the Melons to participate.
How To Leave No Trace BEFORE Burning Man
REDUCE! The less trash you bring to the playa, the less you’ll have to bring out. So take things out of packages! Don’t bring your plastic, cardboard and other capitalist chains to the playa. You’ll just have to bring them back out with you.
GLASS. Glass is not a good thing on the playa. It is heavy and noisy and, worse, empty bottles break and cut open trash bags and pour trash juice where trash juice should not be. Even if you are careful. So we frown a lot at glass bottles in the Melon camp. But we also know glass happens. So if you can’t take the time to pour your glass bottle booze into something plastic, then we will insist that you, and only you, be responsible for removing your bottle from Black Rock City. We will tape your name to that bottle. You have been warned.
CHECK YO SELF. Make sure the things you are bringing aren’t going to break off and become trash for somebody else to pick up once you are moving around. What kind of things are we talking about here? Think things like sequins or feathers. Or rather don’t- leave them at home.
How To Leave No Trace DURING Burning Man
MOOP. You should hear people talk a lot about MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) while you are at Burning Man. MOOP is anything that wouldn’t be on the playa if we weren’t there. And at some point somebody is going to have to remove it. So why not have that person be you? A good Melon is one whose motto is Always Be de-MOOPing. Carry a MOOP bag! If you see a hot pink feather, or a speck of something shiny, or a glow stick, or a shoe or a cigarette butt or an empty whip-it - pick it up! When you get back to camp, throw it away (in the proper receptacle). Think of de-MOOPing like the playa’s own version of Pokemon Go.
RECEPTACLES. Not all trash is created equal, so to make life easier at the Melon Camp we sort our trash. During your Melon orientation you’ll discover our fantastic color-coded trash sorting system, but for now the important things to know are RED is for burnable things which we can and will burn in our burn barrel and BLUE is for crushed aluminum cans (and only aluminum cans) which we will bring to Recycle Camp to be recycled.
CIGARETTES. At an event like Burning Man we are sure you will be shocked (shocked!) to know that some people smoke cigarettes (gasp!). Please don’t judge them (me?) for it. Thanks. You can, however, judge them if they don’t properly toss their butts! Butts go in the trash, not on the ground. This isn’t Newark! PRO TIP: If you are a smoker, use an empty Altoids tin or similar as a portable ashtray - they work like a charm.
How To Leave No Trace at the END of Burning Man
DE-MOOP. Before you leave Burning Man, do a MOOP sweep around your tent/RV and around camp. Make sure Melon of Troy is Green on the annual LNT map. The Melons have been Green seven years running!
TAKE TWO BAGS OF TRASH. There are no exceptions to this one. Each Melon, before they leave, will take with them a bag of trash and a bag of recycling. We don’t care if you are walking out, hitching a ride, or taking the Burner Express Bus, you MUST TAKE SOME TRASH WITH YOU. Everyone at Burning Man does it. You are not a special case. This goes doubly for Burner Express Bus melons - the Express services specifically provide special trash and recycling bags that we use in camp!
Seriously, when you get off the Burner Express they will give you a trash bag and a recycling bag. Please bring those bags to camp and leave them in the proper box in the kitchen. Ask another melon where that box is - don’t just leave them on a table and walk away!
AND TAKE YOUR STUFF. Seriously, if you brought something to Burning Man, take it away with you. If you want to gift something you brought to the Melons, sweet - but make sure someone on the XVC knows. Don’t be the guy who leaves their bike/tent/segway at camp for somebody else to deal with.
How To Leave No Trace AFTER Burning Man
Take what you’ve learned at Burning Man and carry it with you. Don’t litter. Don’t flick your buts. Pick up after yourself and others. Recycle.