Clean-up Plan

We are a society of activists, engaged in radical self expression and radical self-reliance. Ours is not a convenience society. We are aware of the waste we generate, and we take care that none of it affects the desert of our fellow citizens.
—Burning Man

Leave No Trace Pledge

To minimize our impact on the Playa, we at camp Palenque Norte pledge to follow these rules:

  • Leave No Trace -- We plan to clean as we go, to set time aside each day to cleanup, and take all our camp trash in sealed containers to a landfill on the way home. After cleaning our camp, everyone in our camp will devote at least two hours to the general city cleanup (e.g. trash fence, around the Man, café, etc).
  • NO GLASS! - We will not bring glass to the playa.
  • No fires on bare ground - If we must burn, we will use a burn plate, and will sweep up and haul out the ashes.
  • No digging - We will not dig holes or trenches in the playa as we understand this will ruin the playa!
  • Don't let stuff hit the ground - We will keep all items that are loose tied or weighted down, and leave papers at home. We plan to keep all our bottles and cans with in our camp, and will make sure to not leave stuff lying around with the intention of cleaning it up later.
  • Follow the 3R's - We will Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! We will take all aluminum to be recycled at recycle camp.
  • Leave extra space - We will leave extra space in every vehicle on the way to the desert, knowing that repackaging will inevitably take up more space.
  • Port-o-potties are for human waste only - We won't put any trash into the port-o-potties or leave any trash near the potties. If it doesn't come out of our bodies, it won't go in the potties!
  • Prepare as much food in advance as possible. We will be sure to pre-make as many of the meals as possible so that there is very little food prep on the playa.
  • Make a cleanup schedule for your camp. We will follow a daily clean-up ritual at our camp, and have a final plan in place for the day we leave.
  • Keep water off the playa. We plan on disposing of our grey water by bringing empty containers to hold the small amount of grey water used for cleaning kitchen items. This waste water will then be hauled out of BRC by each individual camper. We will avoid at all costs dumping water onto the naked playa, understanding that it will leave a stain! If there is waste water at the end of the week, we will re-bottle it and pack it out with us.
  • Sweep your camp for every little, last piece of trash. Before we leave on Sunday, we have a plan to find every twist tie, feather, cigarette butt, sequin, staple, and watermelon seed. We will have an imaginary grid, and plan to sweep from one end of each section to the other with a line of people spaced every 6 feet or so.
  • Skip the flyers. If we want people to participate in our theme camp we will figure out a different and more creative way to disseminate our information.

Clean-up Schedule

Cleaning up around Palenque Norte is a job shared by everyone, but there are a few individuals that have taken more responsibility. Each of our pod living spaces will have a designated Captain, who will be in charge of keeping the space clean and making sure all lose items are contained ad/or tied down.

Our Earth Guardians will be responsible for a little more, and their schedule of tasks are as follows:


  • Set up recycling and garbage bins, and waste water bucket. Secure them to the playa.


  • Set up evaporation pool, and waste water treatment area.
  • Monitor dinner.
  • Check recycling and trash bins.
  • Set up recycling signage.
  • Find a home for garbage, and recycling supplies.
  • Set up signage.


  • Pick up around camp
  • Check recycling and trash bins.
  • Clean waste water entrapment system.
  • Monitor Dinner.
  • Take recyclable aluminum to Recycle Camp.
  • Check up on mesh dehydration bags.
  • Smash aluminum cans.
  • Check recycling and trash bins.


  • Monitor Dinner.
  • Check signage.
  • Check recycling and trash bins.
  • Smash aluminum cans.
  • Pick up around camp.
  • Check on supplies.
  • Check waste water system.
  • Deal with ice water.


  • Deal with ice water.
  • Take aluminum cans to recycles camp.
  • Check on Dehydration bags.
  • Pick up around camp.
  • Smash aluminum cans.


  • Check on waste water system.
  • Pick up around camp.
  • Monitor Dinner
  • Deal with ice.
  • Crush aluminum cans.
  • Check supplies.
  • Take aluminum cans to Recycle camp.


  • Monitor Grid pattern cleanup.
  • Clean burn scars
  • Divy up trash to take back home.
  • Give directions to landfills.


  • Make sure camp is complete, and nothing is left behind!

Clean-up Supply List

We will bring the following supplies to help with camp clean up:

  • Flat-blade shovel
  • Big yellow whiskbroom
  • 3 5-gallon bucket and mesh withering bag for wet kitchen scraps.
  • Separate containers for recyclables, burnables, and unburnables.
  • Rope and string for tying loose stuff down.
  • Small spare bags for collecting trash as we wander.
  • Lots of industrial strength trash bags -- more than we think we'll need.
  • Cheap work gloves for everybody.
  • Long-handled sledgehammer for compacting in 5-gallon buckets and driving stakes.
  • Altoids boxes and film canisters for smokers butts.
  • Directions and hours of landfills.

What does Leave No Trace Really Mean?

(Source: Burning Man Web site)

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare Read all of the literature provided before leaving for Burning Man. Start with the survival guide. Plan your structure to be able to withstand the extreme conditions on the playa and be reusable. With Garbage, Precycle/Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - try to reduce the weight, volume, and odor of the trash that your camp generates. Leave all unnecessary packaging at home. Choose cans over bottles, and reusable containers over both. Have a predetermined plan for perishables, liquids and ice. Prepare food in sensible quantities that your group can finish at a single sitting -- leftovers will quickly become a liability). Have your camp tear-down well planned and practiced. Don't stress to hurry home on Sunday. Recognize that long-term exposure to the playa will fatigue your body and impair decision powers. Also, when under pressure, we are all likely to make rushed decisions, miss details and leave things behind. You will make the wise choice if you know what to expect and are property prepared. See more hints from Recycle camp.
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: Stay on the playa surface, drive only on obvious, marked roads, keep speeds under 5 mph in Black Rock City. Avoid the Hot Springs during the event. These delicate ecosystems cannot handle the volume of usage that free use during the event creates. Also, many of the surrounding hotsprings are on private land. Avoid crypto-biotic soils at the edges of the playa. These soils can take over 100 years to develop. One footprint can leave a lasting impression. Please stay within the boundaries of Black Rock City during Burning Man.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly (Every camping party is responsible for its refuse. Leave nothing behind, including: firewood, ashes, rocks and cigarette butts. Pick it up and take it with you.) Read on what cleaning up at Burning Man really means BEFORE you leave for the playa. Please do not leave behind your old bikes behind for us. Do not use the playa as your toilet. This is unacceptable behavior and unsanitary. Be aware of spare nails or smaller trash particles that may be dismissed as too small for trash including: hair, matches, cigarette butts, feathers, plastic tie wraps. Do not pour left over gas onto the playa.
  • Leave What You Find (except trash!); No trenching or digging; No pillaging other camps, No burning of other people's art; No claiming of potential artifacts. Artifacts should be turned into the Lost and Found in center camp with an EXACT location of wher it was discovered. Minimize impacts near old Pioneer Wagon tracks throughout the year.
  • Minimize Fire Impacts: Use Fire shields to protect playa surface Do NOT burn carpets, the fumes are toxic; Do NOT throw bottles into fires, or burn anything that is not necessary. Burn in predesignated areas ONLY with the fire barrels provided for general use.
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Be courteous to your neighbors -remember that we're all part of the larger BR community, Place yourself where you belong according to the indications on the city map, coordinate sound and lights effects with your neighbors educate late comers on the "Burning Man ways" as soon as they enter your neighborhood, make your neighbors your friends, help each other with Sunday clean-up - it's amazing what a fresh face can see.

Helpful Waste Reduction Tips

  • Leave unnecessary packaging at home.
  • Choose crushable cans over plastic and glass, and crushable plastic over glass.
  • Use a pail with tight-fitting lid for wet garbage. Wet stinks, dry doesn't. If you choose to dry out the garbage, make sure it's secure from wind.
  • Separate burnables from recyclable and wet materials.
  • Avoid disposable utensils and paper products. Too much trash is a bigger problem than too much gray water.
  • Onsite, prepare ONLY what you and friends will eat.
  • Avoid handing out paper announcements.
  • Do some food prep at home when possible (no round-trip tickets to Black Rock City for your chicken bones).
  • Store cigarette butts in a candy tin.
  • Absolutely do not throw ANY trash of any kind into the porta-potties. This includes "organic" materials and others that "decompose" over time in a large public septic system. Putting anything but human waste and TP into the potties clogs the pumping mechanisms and makes it all but impossible for our waste vendor to maintain potties during the event

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