Sustainable Black Rock City

Greening Your Burn – Tips, Techniques and Tools to Make Your Camp Green and Leave No Trace

Flower at EG Pavilion

Flower at EG Pavilion

Black Rock City is like no other. It arises for one week, and then only its utter disappearance permits it to reappear the following year—so we all need to Leave No Trace! But how do we do that?

Consider the materials you’ll use, waste produced and energy consumed. What are your plastic and carbon footprints?Here is a summary of the practices that we have compiled to help you plan your camp so that it is sustainable and Leaves No Trace. Experience is showing that LNT is really a way to camp smarter, not harder, on the playa.

Planning to Leave No Trace & Go Green

Learn before you burn!
There may seem like a lot to learn about leaving only positive traces at Burning Man. You’re read the Survival Guide and the First Timer’s Guide, now you’ve been given the task to organize your camp!  Where to start?  Whether you’ve Burned zero or 27 times, it couldn’t hurt to brush up on the tips and information about keeping Burning Man clean and green. Make sure you layout an eco-plan for your camp, whether it’s just you or two hundred people. If you’re a big camp, you should consider having a dedicated Leaving No Trace and Green team to make sure everybody does their part.  Learn more and see sample plans here!

Reuse, Reduce and Recycle – Rethink & Reduce What You Purchase & Bring

How are you going to be sustainable at BRC?  Use greener materials!  Use nontoxic, biodegradable, renewable and salvageable materials, and those that can be reused or repurposed at home or at next year’s event. Learn more here about using the best stuff for your camp construction, costumes and food!

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

So many choices

So many choices

Help Black Rock City be a carbon neutral city! Reduce your camps energy use by making smart decisions about power, energy use and lighting and by reducing your transportation impacts. Think about ways to reduce energy use by getting creative about ways to conserve!  Be smart and efficient by sharing energy generation and transportation with neighboring camps.  Learn more here!

Reduce Your Plastic Footprint

What is a plastic footprint you ask?   Here is a wealth of knowledge from our plastic-free expert Beth Terry to help you reduce plastic at Burning Man!

Gray Water Leave No Trace Practices

Figure out your best option to dealing with grey water on playa!  Don’t be that camp with a watery mess of stinky grey water at the end of the week and no plan! Learn more here!

Burn Things Responsibly

Don’t burn on the unprotected playa. While resilient, the playa surface is vulnerable to scarring from careless burning. Burning directly on the alkaline playa BAKES the surface into a dark, hard, brick-like material. Use community burn barrels or a burn platform. and don’t burn anything that can release toxic fumes.  What does that you ask?  Read more here.

Minimize Waste to Minimize Clean-up Efforts

Sorting through small MOOP

Sorting through small MOOP

There are no trash cans in Black Rock City, so you must take any trash you generate home with you and beware of the hungry wind. Plan your camp to minimize waste and trash to make your clean-up efforts easier at the end of the week.  Don’t wait until the end of the week to pick stuff up. Clean as you go. This will help you from getting overwhelmed by the mess and keep trash from blowing out of reach. Learn more here!

Advice for Clean-up and Leaving Black Rock City

Respect Your Neighborhood and leave it better than you found it!, pull rebar and do MOOP sweeps in your camp, & hunt MOOP throughout BRC before you head home!  Then make sure that everything is strongly attached to your car – Beware the Hungry Wind!  Learn more here.


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