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BM Bikes: Helping You Leave No Trace After The Burn

Many people who have heard of Burning Man or who are avid outdoor enthusiasts are familiar with the “Leave No Trace” Principle. For those who are less familiar with the principle, practicing a Leave No Trace Ethic is simple: leave the place you visit the same or better than you found it; leave no trace of your having been there, so that others – human and animal – can enjoy the land the rest of the year.

How To Leave No Trace At Burning Man

Leaving No Trace is arguably Burning Man's most important Principle. Here’s some of the best ways to ensure you abide by this principle during the burn (these tips are taken straight from the experts and can be found originally posted HERE).


1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

For each item that you’re bringing to the playa, think through how you’re going to dispose of it. Have your camp tear-down well planned and practiced. Plan to send trash off the playa with campmates as they leave the event.


2. Reduce Packaging

Bringing less in means having less to haul out. Leave unnecessary packaging at home. Food often comes in layers of plastic and cardboard, but also cast a critical eye toward the toys and camping gear you’re bringing. Unpacking them before arriving on the playa spares you the hassle of bringing back styrofoam packing and shrinkwrap. Choose aluminum cans over bottles, and reusable containers over either of those.


3. Rethink Your Food Portions

Prepare food in sensible quantities your group can finish at a single sitting — leftovers quickly become a liability. Coordinate with your campmates as far as what you’re bringing to minimize waste. If you’ve found yourself with a giant pot of chili and not enough campmates, invite neighbors over to finish it off. It beats creating a wet, heavy bag of trash that has to be packed into someone’s trunk.


4. Don’t Rush Packing and Departure

Don’t stress to hurry home. Long-term exposure to the playa will fatigue your body and impair decision-making. Also, when under pressure, we are all likely to make rushed decisions, miss details and leave things behind. If half of your campmates will have left already by Sunday, the folks left behind are going to have a lot more work to do. If someone has to catch a plane, make sure to start packing up even earlier than you think you have to, so that you aren’t tempted to leave before fully clearing your site.


5. MOOP Sweeps

As you’re packing your camp, have campmates walk repeatedly around your site picking up anything and everything that’s not part of the playa. Doing this periodically, through the week, will make it easier.


6. Do Not Use the Playa as Your Toilet

It’s unacceptable, unsanitary, and just plain gross the morning after.


7. Take Your Bikes Home

Do not leave behind your old bikes behind for us. We still have to dispose of them if you don’t, and it’s an expensive and time-consuming effort.


8. Be Aware of Very Small Items

No Trace really does mean no trace. Be conscious of spare nails or smaller trash particles that may be dismissed as too small for trash including: hair, matches, cigarette butts, feathers, zip ties. Remember food waste such as peanut shells, orange peels and egg shells are also trash. While you’re walking around the playa, make an effort to pocket all trash, including cigarette butts, and then empty your pockets into a trash bag later. After you pick up your trash to carry home, do a last-minute check of your site for cigarette butts, gum wrappers, etc. because many of those will be hidden under tarps, tents and vehicles.


9. Do Not Pour Leftover Gas on the Playa

This is toxic! You wouldn’t do this in your backyard, so don’t do it in ours.


10. Minimize Fire Impacts

Deserts like Black Rock are susceptible to burn scars which last a long time and are not easily cleared. Avoid creating a burn scar by not burning directly on the ground. Use a raised fire pit, or use fire shields to protect playa surface. Keep in mind that most non-natural materials (rugs, polyester, plastic, treated wood) are toxic when burned.


11. Minimize Playa Scars

Never ditch or build trenches around your tent because they can start soil erosion and create lasting scars. Make an effort to restore holes dug for tent stakes and anchors.


12. Do Not Take Artifacts

Artifacts should be turned into the Lost and Found in Center Camp with an EXACT location of where it was discovered. Many historical and archeological sites are found throughout Bureau of Land Management areas. Federal law prohibits disturbing historical and archeological sites or removing any objects from them.


13. Respect Wildlife

Do not harass wildlife. Remember, Burning Man is not a place for dogs or other pets. If you bring a pet to the playa outside of the Burning Man event, make certain to remove their waste just as you would your own.


How BM Bikes Helps You Leave No Trace


BM Bike Rentals wants to make it easy for you to leave no trace after your Burning Man experience.


By renting bikes from BM Bikes to use during Burning Man, we help ensure that bikes that are no longer suitable for life off-the-playa don’t end up in landfills or left in the desert after the burn! You can return your bike in any condition - we take them all!


Additionally, whether you rented a bike from us or not, we will take all non-perishable leftovers that you'd like to donate and we donate to local shelters in the area. Leave your leftovers with us and help provide for our community at the same time!


If you are interested in learning more about acceptable donations, contact us HERE. We look forward to seeing you out there!




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