The 8th Principle: Leave No Trace (LNT)
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better condition than when we found them.
What Is MOOP?
MOOP is an acronym for “Matter Out Of Place,” a handy way of referring to anything that is not originally of the land on which our event takes place. Everything that wasn’t originally on or of the Paddock, no matter how small, is considered MOOP, and is to be removed as part of our Leave No Trace efforts.
MOOP thinking starts before you arrive at the Paddock and only ends when the area is clear. It’s a circle of MOOP.
Before you arrive – What NOT to take:
Contrary to popular belief, Leave No Trace is NOT something you do at the end of your stay on the Paddock. In fact, it starts as you start planning for your Burn, because that’s when you develop your plan, pick up supplies, and you carefully consider any items you’re bringing that could become MOOP. It’s worth remembering that the following items are so MOOPy that they are not permitted at the event:
· Feathers of any kind e.g., boas (they shed, no matter what you do – try marabou instead)
· Glitter of any kind (including bio-glitter)
· Nuts in their shells
· Styrofoam chilly bins (they don’t hold up and will break into a million bits)
· Explosives, fireworks, aerial flares, rockets, firearms of any kind – including BB guns, air rifles, or paintball guns (for multiple reasons!)
· Chinese lanterns and/or balloons
· Single use glow sticks
Other culprits you can leave at home: Astroturf, plastic bags, paper, string, bottle caps, cigarette butts (and the ash), disposable drink cups, un-reusable straws, fruit stickers, anything that will break up and/or blow away in the wind. Remember food waste such as fruit cores, orange peels, banana peels, and eggshells are also MOOP!
At the event: No MOOP, none of the time! Leave No Trace takes place every moment of the event, when you never let it hit the ground, you collect your own MOOP as you go, and you even pick-up other people’s MOOP. Carry a MOOP bag, have secure rubbish gags at the camp, and educate others if you see them leaving any Matter Out Of Place.
Exodus: Take it, take it all!
When it is time to leave, make sure you have planned your Exodus to include enough time to do your part in removing all items you brought with you to the Paddock – from couches to well hidden tent pegs and those pesky fruit stickers, it all needs to go. If you are first to depart your camp, make sure your campmates are in agreement that you have done your part to satisfy Leave No Trace before hitting the road.
IMPORTANT: When planning, allow for vehicle space for the trash you will generate over the week.
Whether you are camping on your own, with others, or with a Theme Camp, a line sweep will need to be performed after your structure(s) have been packed down. A line sweep typically involves several members of the camp walking the camp and surrounding area in an organised formation (ie. in a line) and picking up any little pieces of MOOP that are found.
Here are some sweet planning tips to make your Burn experience more Earth-awesome:
Pre-cycle: do everything you can do to reduce waste, conserve energy, and reuse existing materials. This means, wherever possible, using non-toxic, biodegradable, renewable, and salvaged materials, and those that can be repurposed at home or reused at next year’s event.
Structures: Select construction materials and decorations that are reusable (they are cheaper in the long run). If you can’t reuse them, make sure they are recyclable. Where possible, use reclaimed wood and metal. Use screws instead of nails (they are easier to remove). Design camp structures for easy construction/deconstruction, reuse, storage, or salvage.
Clothes and Costumes — The op shop, tip shop, and junkyard are your friends. When considering costume options, be mindful of MOOP. Things that can be particularly problematic include feathers, glitter, sequins, beads, bindis, body gems, glued-on stuff, fake eyelashes, etc.
Food and Water: Minimize kitchen waste and clean-up by planning simple meals and preparing food in advance and packing it.
Eliminate unnecessary packaging and store food in reusable containers. Bring water in reusable containers and bring reusable cups, utensils, bowls, and plates.
Where possible, avoid single use bottled drinks. If you must buy single-serving drinks, choose aluminium cans over glass bottles.
Aluminium cans are smaller to pack out once crushed. Bring a 5-gallon (or larger) plastic bucket with a secure lid and fill it with compostable materials.
Note: unlike many other Burns, grey water is allowed on the Paddock at Kiwiburn.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT use this foldable plastic water container (or similar models) under any circumstance! They will DESTROY your water supply and end up in the rubbish instantly.
A final note: Take your trash all the way home (or to an Official Waste Transfer Station) with you! Please do not dump your trash along the highways where locals or highway clean-up crews will have to deal with it. Do not leave trash at local businesses or rest stops – they pay for trash disposal and shouldn’t have to accommodate yours. This includes restaurant dumpsters, hotels, petrol stations, or anywhere else that is private property. The local populations play a very critical role as part of our larger Burn community, don’t make them clean up after your party!
IMPORTANT: Plan ahead by looking up a Waste Transfer Station that is on your route home to dispose of your rubbish and recycling.
The feeling of leaving your campsite spotless and literally not leaving any trace behind is just a headrush – it’s magic! So plan ahead, pick it all up, and be the magic!
Are you getting excited yet?! Want to read more about Leave No Trace and other preparedness-type info, you awesome planner you?
Leave No Trace Policy (Includes list of convenient Waste Transfer Stations and hours of operation, actual hours may differ in 2021)
Partial Content Acknowledgement: Burning Man Survival Guide | 2019 and Kiwiburn Survival Guide | 2020