Tips to Reduce Use of Disposable Plastic At Burning Man!
Here are our first 10 Tips to help you reduce plastic at Burning Man!
see a shorter version of the full list at the EG web site.
1) Bring water in stainless steel containers. As you can see in the post, we used stainless steel iced tea containers last year because they were less expensive than double-walled alternatives. But for people who go to Burning Man regularly, you might want to invest in something like this. (You can find them for less than $285 — just keep searching eBay.) We filled our containers in Gerlach so we didn’t have to transport heavy water the entire way from the Bay Area.
2) Buy food from bulk bins in your own containers. We bought all kinds of dried soups, hummus, beans, nuts, dried fruit, etc. from the bulk bins at Berkeley Bowl and Whole Foods. I used my own jars, cloth bags, and stainless steel containers to avoid all forms of plastic packaging.
3) Borrow or buy things secondhand instead of buying new. I put an ad on Freecycle to get flashlights. I got my Goggles from someone via Freecycle a few years prior. Unless you go to Burning Man every year or camp a lot, there might be quite a few things that you don’t actually need to own.
4) Bring stainless steel water bottles / travel mug to carry with you at all time so you never have to take disposables.
5) Also… carry reusable utensils and food container at all times since wherever you go on the playa, someone seems to always be offering food. I brought a bamboo utensil set (although a good spork would take up even less space in your day bag) and a stainless steel Lunchbot container.
6) Bring plastic-free sunscreen. Here is my review of the two sunscreens I used on the playa — Avasol and Balm! Baby. And also other methods for keeping the sun off without resorting to toxic chemical sunscreens in plastic bottles:
7) Make your own “wet wipes”. I haven’t tried it yet, but I plan to use a pair of pinking shears to cut up some old t-shirts or flannel sheets and make wipes. I’ll use the recipe from this blog post, but store it in a spray bottle and use as needed instead of soaking the wipes in it, to avoid bacterial or mold growth.
8) Get a cotton tent. I am still working on this… have been trying to see if Springbar can make me a tent without a vinyl floor.
9) Speaking of vinyl, avoid it. It is PVC, one of the most toxic plastics, containing hormone-disrupting phthalates and producing dioxin when manufactured and burned. It off gases terribly, especially in the heat. Don’t make costumes out of it. Try to avoid it in tents and other equipment if you can.
10) Consider a vintage canvas and wood camping cot. I got mine from eBay. No plastic, and secondhand. Here’s my blog post about it here.
Beth’s birgin experience at Burning Man
Beth’s Website & Book: Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too (available at the library and through all book retailers (Amazon, bookstores, etc.)