The Gift Economy gets recycled: drive through drop offs in Reno!


Ripped verbatim from the Jack Rabbit Speaks, this is the best news I’ve heard in weeks: Reno area supermarkets are being turned into drive through drop off recycling centers, post Burning Man. Woot! Cardboard, plastic, aluminum, glass, even batteries and BIKES!!! No more ditching your old Schwinn on the playa thinking “some body will want it.” Now it’ll get to someone who can actually use it. This story could be better..but I’m not sure how.

Some might say “but you’re promoting their store! Isn’t that commercialism…or something?” To which I’d reply “Did you miss the part where it happens after the event, and you’ve already bought everything?”

See, this is a gift. This is our values, principles, call em what you want, being mirrored back to us. True, it’s by a supermarket, but so what? That’s the cool part, really. I was there last year when the area managers for this particular chain of stores came to the event for the first time. They were wondering “why is our busiest week of the year in August?” So they toured around, saw the city, met some people, and clearly *got it*. This fantastic recycling program ( remember: all the recycling centers in Reno are otherwise closed on Labor Day) is the happy result.

Please spread the word. Please sort your recyclables in your camp. PLEASE drop them off clean and tidy and with a nice word or three for the people who’ll be there collecting them.

A big wet, sloppy green kiss to Nathan Heller, the Reno area burner who helped make this amazing program happen!


There’s a long and multilayered story behind this first item, involving several multi-year Burners, several regional managers of a Reno area grocery store chain, a long-awaited visit to Burning Man, a decisison to give a gift, cooperation from multiple communities, and months of hard work to pull it off. It boils down to a story about a gift… and it’s a story that makes your post-playa ride home a lot easier and way greener.

Either way, we are grateful to the people behind this one for thinkingit up!

2007 Reno Drive-Thru Recycling Initiative
Saturday August 25 through Wednesday September 5 (Keystone location operating until Sept. 9)

Open 24 Hours

In a multi-community effort to promote recycling, several Albertson’s/Save Mart supermarkets in Reno, Sparks, and Carson City will for the first time be carving off a part of their parking lots and setting them aside for recycling drop-off stations for our community, throughout and following the Burning Man event.

All of these locations will be along burner-travel routes west and south of Black Rock City (I-80, US-395, and Hwy 445), and open 24 hours (including LABOR DAY, when most of the commercial recycling plants in Reno are actually closed).

This recycling initiative is free, designed for your convenience, and designed for maximum capacity, to help lighten up anyone’s load to and from BRC. Proceeds raised from these recyclables will be donated to support environmental initiatives and education through the Gerlach High School.

Check out what they’re accepting: plastics (HDPE 1,2,4,&5), plastic bags, glass, all metals (aluminum, tin, steel, iron, etc.), paper, cardboard, and rechargeable batteries… even leftover bikes. Everything except your dusty campmates, out of your backseat and off to be recycled. All you have to do is drive into the parking lot and drop off your recyclables in the dumpsters and bins provided.

Your recyclables will need to be as clean as possible before depositing — and, PLEASE, PLEASE, NO garbage dumping. Your participation and care is very much appreciated! If this recycling initiative proves to be a success, it can become a multi-year project for the Burning Man community, according to these folks.

Think about it: Instead of guiltily chucking your recycling into a dumpster or the landfill because you had to leave on Monday or in the middle of the night, you can do the right thing with your recyclables without ever leaving your car…and the Gerlach High School gets your help maintaining their new solar panel donation and learning more about alternative energies.

Perhaps you can see why we think this is so awesome.

*Special JRS bunny thanks to Nathan Heller, hardworking Drive-Thru Recycling Project guru-advocate – not an employee or representative of the stores, just a Reno area burner who wanted to help make a great thing happen, so he went out and made it happen. Thanks, Nathan.

Albertson’s / Save Mart Supermarkets

525 Keystone Avenue, 775-786-2150
195 West Plumb Lane, 786-0138
4995 Kietzke Lane, 827-5350
10500 North McCarran Blvd, 746-8882

565 East Prater Way, 359-9060
9750 Pyarmid Lake Highway, 425-2700

Carson City-
3620 North Carson Street, 841-4402

A flyer with a map to these locations will be available at Recycle Camp.

About the author: Tom Price

Tom Price

Tom Price is the former Executive Director of Black Rock Solar. Prior to that he was the Environmental Manager for Burning Man during the Green Man theme, and was in the Gulf Coast for six months during the genesis of Burners Without Borders. He's been attending Burning Man since 1997, and he's proud to say that his decade plus streak of breaking down from sun stroke on the playa on day three remains intact.

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