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  • Writer's pictureBM BikeRentals

Solving a Playa Problem & Putting your Waste to Work

Every year, after the lights go out, the music quiets, and the dust settles, thousands of pounds of waste is left on the Playa - trash, food, camping gear, etc. One of the Burn's most important philosophies is to leave no trace. Despite this request, this issue seems to be getting worse each year with increased attendance.

At BM Bikes Rentals, we are doing everything we can to reduce the amount of post-Burn waste. Our hope is to preserve this beautiful event and the environment for which it calls home. Our company not only cleans up, repairs, and rents out abandoned bikes, but we also serve the communities that surround the Playa. Over the past three years, we have taken in thousands of pounds of food, water, and camping gear donations after The Burn and passed it along to local food shelters, food pantries, senior centers, and homeless shelters.

We hope that you, too, will do your part in helping to reduce the amount of waste. Keep your trash and recycle under control and off the Playa, don't throw cigarette butts on the ground, consider nonperishable food that doesn't rot and that you can easily pack back home, no fireworks, clean up after every meal, and most importantly, consider renting a bike rather than buying. This is especially recommended if you are coming from out of the country and are not able to transport your bike back home.

Let's work together to preserve and enjoy BM for years to come. Thank you for reading!


According to the Official Burning Man, some of the most common MOOP (matter out of place) items include:

Rebar, Tent Stakes and Ground Anchors

There’s nothing that a pair of vice grips and some leverage can’t pull out. Anything hammered into the ground will just get squeezed out of the playa another day, after a series of freezes and thaws.

Abandoned Art, Abandoned Camps, Abandoned Stuff

Grey Water/Black Water Dumping

Dumping your grey/black water on the ground is nasty for the environment, and can get you a hefty fine from the BLM.


Why do dunes matter? We share this land with others who use it, and it’s important that we keep it safe for vehicle passage by keeping the playa flat (The Black Rock Desert is known to be one of the flattest stretches of land on Earth). Dunes are formed when windblown dust bounces off stationary objects and reforms on the ground, attracting more and more dust to the pile and exponentially create a bigger dune. Once they start, there is nothing to stop them, except us. Caught at an early stage, dunes can be stopped by simply raking them down with a landscape rake.

Fireworks Debris

Fireworks are not allowed in Black Rock City; unfortunately, some folks do sneak them in, and more, unfortunately, the people who light them off are rarely the same people that clean up after them.

Carpet Fiber/Debris

Carpets, rugs, and old tattered tarps are often shredded to bits, leaving behind micro-sized MOOP over large areas.

Cloth, Fiber and Rope Debris

Torn fragments of clothes, costumes, jewelry, and other fibrous materials.

Metal Debris

Nails, screws, fasteners, metal slag, beer bottle tops, etc.–there is hardly anything on the playa that isn’t fastened with metal. Whether you're constructing something out of wood or welding, a magnet sweeper with a release handle (do a web search) works wonders getting metal quickly and easily off the ground.

Cigarette Butts

Glass Debris

Broken beer bottles, broken windshields, etc.

Plastic Debris

Plastic bottle tops, packaging, baggies, zip ties, duct tape, caution tape, etc. Plastic is all too often airborne MOOP due to wind conditions and carelessness. Manage your plastic materials, keep them secure and recycle.

Wood Debris

Wood chips, bark, palettes, splinters, sawdust, boxes, cardboard, paper, etc. Though often thought to be “organic,” wood is simply not found naturally on the playa, and it is here where we must draw the line — it’s MOOP. The impact of wood is consistently the highest of all the traces and must be eliminated.


Plants, palm trees, pine needles, palm fronds, leaves, etc. Trees, plants, and leaves die, break, and shred, creating a huge mess of micro-sized MOOP spread out over a wide area. Factor in the dust storms and you’ve got a disaster to deal with on your hands and knees.

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