5 Surprisingly Green Things You Didn't Know About Burning Man

Desert Man Burning Man What's the eco-impact of thousands of Burners getting their party on in the middle of the desert? Although I love big music and art festivals, they always make me just a little guilty. It's virtually impossible for a huge population of people to set up shop, cooking, showering, dancing, and going to the bathroom, without leaving behind a lot of MOOP. See: 11 Things You Should NEVER Bring To Burning

Man Whether it's in the middle of a big field, like Bonnaroo, or ancient lake bed like Burning Man, having a good time while taking care of Mother Earth is a massive challenge. Unlike other summer festivals, Burning Man is a Leave No Trace Event. This means that when the last Burner leaves, the Playa should look like no one has ever been there before. It's daunting task that takes everyone's full cooperation, from those who spend all year planning the event to the first timer. You might be surprised at how much effort goes into to keeping the Playa clean, and ensuring that the whole thing can happen again next year. Here are 5 surprisingly green things you didn't know about Burning Man (and how you can help keep it that way!)

  1. Recycle Camp: This on-Playa recycling facility exists to gather all aluminum cans in Black Rock City. It's open Monday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 6:00 and Rod’s Road, just behind the Center Camp Café. Volunteers crush and bag all the cans, and then donate them to the nearby Gerlach School.
  2. Upcycled Art: Most of the strange and wonderful art you see at Burning Man will be build from recycled or
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    salvaged materials thanks to a handy guide on the Burning Man website. If you're planning to build something awesome, check it out to learn easy ways to reduce waste and dispose of it propertly.

  3. Shuttle Bus Service: Many festivals allow attendees to come and go as they please, but this type of traffic is far too damaging to the Playa. Avoid a $20/person fee, and take the community shuttle that travels between Black Rock City and the towns of Gerlach and Empire instead.
  4. Community Clean-Up: Once the party's over, you can't just pick up and leave. Each Burner is asked to join their neighbors on Sunday and Monday after the burn for two hours of MOOPing Black Rock City in addition to your own
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    camp clean up—pick a well-traveled area. If you need, the Earth Guardians in Center Camp can help direct you to a specific cleanup project.

  5. Exodus Trash & Recycling Network: By now it should be pretty obvious that you can't leave any trash or recyclables (besides aluminum cans) behind at Burning Man. But where will you dispose of them? Well, there are several convenient 24-hour trash and recycling centers along all Exodus routes. "Recycling is free and trash disposal is approximately $5 per 35-gallon trash bag. Human and other hazardous waste is absolutely prohibited! All proceeds remaining after covering operational expenses will be donated to help support new Black Rock Solar installations or other local community programs in the region. Non-perishable food and water will be donated to local Food Banks, and bicycles will be donated to local bike programs to support kids in need."

Learn more about how to keep Burning Man green in the official survival guide. Image: Bill Dimmick