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Trash is not something most of us think about. We live in a society where men come in the wee hours of the morning 1and take it all away. It is only when you have to live with your garbage for a week, without the opportunity to take it out, that you realize how much garbage 21st Century Homo Sapiens produce. Below you will find several tips for helping you reduce your trash before you even come to the playa.

One useful strategy is to try to reduce the weight, volume, and odor of the trash that your camp generates. Leave all unnecessary packaging at home. Choose cans over bottles, and reusable containers over both. Prepare food in sensible quantities that your group can finish at a single sitting -- leftovers will quickly become a liability.

Bring plenty of trash bags, and take care that your trash doesn't blow away. Consider bringing a waste container with a tight-fitting lid, and secure it so it doesn't topple over. When onsite, separate recyclable items.

For those that find themselves with leftover aluminum cans, we encourage you to take them to Recycle Camp in Center Camp. Some of this material will be recycled into art.

To summarize:

  • Leave unnecessary packaging at home.
  • Choose crushable cans over plastic and glass, and crushable plastic over glass.
  • NEW FOR 2004! Bring a reusable mug or cup for coffee and beverages from the Center Camp Cafe.
  • Aluminum cans can be brought to Recycle Camp. You can volunteer to help them at recycle(at)burningman(dot)com
  • Use a pail with tight-fitting lid for wet garbage. Wet stinks, dry doesn't. If you choose to dry out the garbage, make sure it's secure from wind.
  • Separate burnables from recyclable and wet materials.
  • Avoid disposable utensils and paper products. Too much trash is a bigger problem than too much gray water.
  • Onsite, prepare ONLY what you and friends will eat.
  • Avoid handing out paper announcements.
  • Do NOT burn carpets -- the fumes are toxic.
  • Do some food prep at home when possible (no round-trip tickets to Black Rock City for your chicken bones).
  • Store cigarette butts in a candy tin.
  • Do NOT throw bottles into fires, and don't leave them lying around just because you're done and can't find a trash bag. Carry it away with you, or find an appropriate receptacle.
  • Absolutely do not throw ANY trash of any kind into the porta-potties. This includes "organic" materials and others that "decompose" over time in a large public septic system. Putting anything but human waste and TP into the potties clogs the pumping mechanisms and makes it all but impossible for our waste vendor to maintain potties during the event. We're already on probation with the Truckee/Tahoe Sanitation District over trash in our waste -- which very much threatens the survival of the event. "If it wasn't in your body, don't put it in the pottie!"

Most importantly of all, don't be a litter bug. Leaving No Trace is much easier if you don't let it hit the ground in the first place!2

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