A major part of Burn culture is that everyone brings their own cup. You will be told that your cup is your life at many Burns. There is a good reason why.
The cup signifies a major principle of Burns: Leaving No Trace. To many this is the most important principle. Whatever you bring to a Burn, you must bring it out. Including your cup. Leaving No Trace starts when you are packing your bag and doesn’t end until you have left the site.
To help newer Burners, this article aims to give some tips on how to have a Burn without leaving a trace.
So let’s start with what you put in your cup. You will need to bring a lot of water – around 2 liters for each day of the Burn. Prefer to bring a few larger bottles rather than a lot of small ones. This way there will be less trash for you to collect up at the end.
The same principle applies with other drinks – prefer larger bottles than small. If you are bringing beer, consider bringing kegs rather than cans or bottles. That way the cleanup is easier and as a bonus it’s much easier to share with others.
You will need to bring enough food for four days. If you’re bringing meat, prefer meat with no bones. Precooked food, dried/cured meat, pasta, pre-boiled eggs, fruit and vegetables are all good choices. Trail mixes, nuts, beans and mushrooms are all good sources of protein.
There will be ice to help you keep your food fresh, but ice is limited so prepare for the possibility of not having perishable food after the first couple of days.
Ramen noodles/pot noodles are a sin. So much so many Burners have suggested that we ban them outright! We’ve chosen not to, but we strongly recommend against them – they have no real nutrition and have a lot of excess packaging that means more trash to clean up.
You may have spotted a general theme so far: packaging. When thinking about what to bring, think about what kind of packaging comes with it. The less packaging, the less you have to clean up when you leave.
Don’t bring throw-away cups (plastic or paper), bring a real Burner cup. If you buy anything new for the Burn, remove the packaging before you leave. Prefer pre-cooked food in re-usable Tupperware to packaged food. Avoid disposable utensils – prefer reusable chopsticks to cheap throwaway ones.
Many Burners will carry around a small tin to use as an ash tray and to dispose of their cigarettes. This helps to reduce the amount of ash that falls to the floor and saves you having to throw your cigarette butts on the ground.
Pack it in, pack it out! Whatever you bring in you must take out. Bringing some bin bags to throw away your trash when you need to.
Finally, consider volunteering to be a part of the Leave No Trace team by emailing [email protected]. We will sweep the site after everyone has left to pick up any trash that people may have left behind by accident.
We hope this article helps you think about how you can be a cleaner Burner. Please help us to leave no trace and remember:
Bring a cup!