We provide a full Leave No Trace / LNT system on playa. And the only way it can be an LNT system, is if each and every one of us participates thoughtfully and consciously every time we create any physical or gray-water waste. Here’s what you’ll find in our camp —
Trash, Recycling and Burnables
In the kitchen, you’ll find, large lidded bins for sorting —
- burnables – cardboard/large dry paper
- wet organic waste (uncooked vegetable/fruit scraps)
All sorted trash and recyclables, when filled, are moved to a three-walled trash tent with a tarp below. Plenty of air gets in to help dry wet trash. The tarp protects the playa from any potential leaks. We keep a roll of bright-colored duct tape strung and connected to the trash tent so that we can mark trash bags as trash. (They get handled differently at the end of our sojourn.)
It is very important that with each action of throwing something away, each and everyone of us consciously sorts our trash.
Wet organic material waste
Wet organic waste is uncooked vegetable and fruit scraps. Clean bread is ok. No meat, wet grains, dairy or oils. All such wet waste is put in burlap bags where excess liquid first drips into a bucket (the liquid going to our grey water system). Then when about half full, the burlap bags are tied up and taken over to our drying station. This station is a large tarp upon which place the bags on an assembly of boards that keep the bags a few inches off off the ground. It’s important that the bags not be too full nor too wet. We’re aiming for d-r-y here. We do not “compost,” per se. We dessicate. Anyone who wishes to take this dessicated material home is welcome to do so; otherwise, it is part of our trash at the end of the week.
The most important two things with grey water are to 1) reduce the total amount of water that gets contaminated as grey water and 2) diligence regarding what goes into the water. Number 1 requires your conscious effort. Number 2 does as well, namely in the form of taking a paper towel and thoroughly wiping all excess food and oils off your plates and other dishes before putting them in the water. In some cases (many!) your dishes will actually be clean if you do a good job with your paper towel.
We use a four-part water-based dishwashing system with water+soap in bin #1, water with less soap and some bleach in bin #2, clean water with bleach in bin #3 and bleach-free water in bin #4.
Dirty grey water should be dumped into the grey water collection container.
A note about melted ice and water in your cooler: Water from your coolers/eskies should be dispersed. To disperse mostly clean water, fling small amounts of water over a wide area of the playa so that the water evaporates quickly. Dumping water often creates mud ponds which dry and become shallow dips in the playa. We get docked MOOP points from the BMorg’s post-burn MOOP scan for such dips. Obviously, if there are any food particles in your cooler water, dispose of them first.
While we used to be able to burn cardboard, paper trash and our dried wet food waste (the playa version of our compost), the BMorg now limits burnables to construction waste and large wood items only.
Throughout the week, please be cognizant of MOOP. Pick it up when you see it. Need some quiet time around the camp, deMOOP for 10-15 minutes. Every bit of any Matter Out Of Place needs to be picked up. Also around the farmers market area and the public roads in front of our camp; these areas are high traffic and someone needs to clean them up. Actually, lots of someone’s. We’re in a more dense area so there’s just going to be more MOOP that comes from density.
Pack-down and Exodus
As we pack down and before we do our exodus from the camp and the playa, we do a full camp sweep, including line sweeps, raking, sifting and visual spotting for MOOP. We also do a MOOP sweep in an around the area where our farmers market stall was located in the French Quarter.
MOOP Flash Mobs
Is this your calling? To create a deMOOP flash mob choreography? We’ve got the song, now we just need a dance.