Despite their reputation for burning down large scale art, Burning Man is proud to be the largest practicing Leave No Trace event in the world, and continues to be recognised by the USA Bureau of Land Management for not only maintaining Leave No Trace standards, but for setting high standards by which other recreation events on the Black Rock Desert are measured. At the root of their success is the Burning Man community’s underlying principle of Leaving No Trace.
At 53 000 participants and counting, Burning Man is proud to be the largest practicing Leave No Trace Event on public land. All participants, including artists, theme camps, outside services, government officials, and event infrastructure are required to clean up after themselves and leave no trace. Participants must remove from the event site, any matter out of place, known as ‘MOOP’, whether cigarette butts, boa feathers or even substances otherwise considered natural
No garbage cans are provided and yet the event remains free and clear of rubbish. And that wouldn’t be possible without the concerted efforts of every last participant and their belief in the Leaving No Trace ethos.
Leave No Trace commitment: “The Burning Man 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 state than when we found them.”
Additionally, the Burning Man community has made up their own word for litter known as moop, originally an acronym for Matter Out Of Place.
Originally an acronym for Matter Out Of Place, meaning any thing or condition that is not natural to the immediate environment and should not be there, especially as it applies to the Burning Man community’s founding principle of Leaving No Trace.
Examples of moop:
trash, bottles, bottle caps, cans, cigarette butts, wood debris, plastic debris, metal debris, fireworks, glow sticks, but can also be in the form of debris from camp fires, glass, plants, burn scars, grey water spills, fuel spills, decomposed granite, and dunes.
Black Rock City is laid out into a systematic labyrinth of themed camps. At the end of the event Burning Man officials prowl the playa with GPS devices to identify camps that neglected their trash, and make public MOOP maps.