Reduce Your Plastic Footprint!

How Do I Reduce Plastic at Burning Man?

What is your Plastic Footprint?

Can you reduce use of disposable plastic at Burning Man? On this page we’ve listed tips on how to reduce plastic at Burning Man! It’s all part of the Plastic Footprint Project that we’re supporting this year. Earth Guardians have been working together with school and community groups in Lake Tahoe to raise awareness about plastic pollution and ways to reduce use of plastic products at Burning Man and at home.

Plastic Footprint Project
As part of this project, Earth Guardians showcase a large plastic footprint sculpture in front of our camp at Burning Man. It is a sculpture of a large foot made of plastic water bottles squishing the Earth. It is also leaving a large footprint. The sculpture, which is illuminated, is approximately 10’ tall by 12’ long. After Burning Man, it  also travels around and continues to educate other local communities.

Earth Guardian Ann Clark, who is a retired Art Teacher from Lake Tahoe, is leading this effort. Ann worked with students of all ages, teachers from several schools on north shore Lake Tahoe, and many community members to build the large-scale sculpture to raise awareness about the growing problem of single-use plastics. Her Footprint Project team plans to make a real impact on all generations. The footprint team has their own Facebook page called “Generation Green Refusing Plastic” and continues to spread the word.

Our Plastic Expert – Beth Terry!beth web

Beth Terry is our resident Earth Guardian plastics expert! After learning about the devastating effects of plastic pollution on the environment and human health, she began an experiment to see if she could live without buying any new plastic. Since then, she has reduced her plastic waste to less than 2% of the national average. That experiment turned into the popular blog and great book called “Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too”. Her work and life have been profiled in the award-winning film Bag It, as well as Susan Freinkel’s book, Plastic: A Toxic Love Story and Captain Charles Moore’s Plastic Ocean.

Here is a blog post she wrote several years ago about going plastic free at Burning Man:  Click Here!

She has shared her knowledge and put together some tips on reducing plastic at Burning Man below! See her longer discussion of the tips in our stories section!

Tips to Reduce Use of Plastic at Burning Man!

1) Bring water in stainless steel containers

2) Buy food from bulk bins in your own containers.

3) Borrow or buy things secondhand instead of buying new.

Stainless Steel Water Container and water bottle

Stainless Steel Water Container and water bottle

4) Bring stainless steel water bottles / travel mug to carry with you at all time

5) Carry reusable utensils and food container

6) Bring plastic-free sunscreen

7) Make your own “wet wipes”.

8) Get a cotton tent

9) Speaking of vinyl, avoid it.

10) Consider a vintage canvas and wood camping cot.

11) If your camp is going to be providing food to the public, reduce waste by FIRST encouraging people to use their own reusable cups / containers (Ask, “Do you have your mug?  Do you have your plate?”

12) Use lip balm that comes in a compostable cardboard tube instead of plastic

13) Toothpaste:  There are plastic-free options, what, plastic in toothpast?

14) Toothbrush — try a bamboo one.

15)  Skip the disposable plastic glow sticks – no brainer!

16) Ice — instead of initial ice in plastic bags — you can fill up metal containers with water and freeze for ice chest.

17) Compost!

18) Limit the amount of plastic bags to the playa because they blow away too easily.  (e.g. plastic grocery bags )

19) Most important concept is to “pre-cycle” meaning reduce the amount of disposable products and packaging that you bring in the first place so you’ve not just packing it out of the playa and dumping it somewhere else.

20) Check out my plastic-free guide for a lot more ideas about avoiding plastic in general:

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