MOOP, in Burning Man speak, is Matter Out Of Place. Trash such as paper plates, beer cans, bottles, cigarette butts, grocery bags, etc. often hit the ground and become MOOP. Basically anything at ALL that isn’t native to the playa is MOOP, doesn’t belong there, and needs to be picked up off the ground by you and me.
All are welcome at Burning Man, and in Black Rock City (our playa home), we LEAVE NO TRACE. Each and every one of us is responsible for the impact that we leave on the Black Rock Desert. At Burning Man, there are no public trash receptacles. You take your trash with you, and you take it off the playa with you. Radical self-reliance. This has always been at the very core of our culture.
Of the tens of thousands of citizens in Black Rock City, perhaps the folks hardest hit by MOOP fallout are the Theme Camps, those hardworking people who create those special places for you to rest, heal, eat, imbibe, dance, and party. As you can imagine, their already-difficult job is made much harder when you, citizens of Black Rock, visit their camps and leave behind your MOOP for someone else to clean up. So, don’t do that.
“But,” you may ask, “how do I do that (especially while I’m busy having a good time)?” Well, I’ll tell you.
Very simply: CARRY A MOOP BUCKET.
A MOOP Bucket is any mid-sized handy receptacle that you can carry around with you and into which you can stuff your personal MOOP. The best MOOP buckets are made from cutting a can-sized hole into an empty plastic gallon jug and tying a strap around the handle, but any receptacle (like a backpack lined with a plastic bag) will do.
As you roam the playa, deposit crushed empty cans, plates, and butts in your MOOP bucket! Also, pick up random MOOP that you come across on your adventures. Ideally, everybody in your crew should carry one, but at the very least have one person designated to carry the MOOP Bucket for the day.
So, show some love back to those hard working Theme Campers and do your part to Leave No Trace by carrying a MOOP Bucket and picking up after yourself.
It’s only through our common commitment to Leave No Trace that we are able to make Burning Man happen. It’s a core principle of our community, and we thank you for being part of it.
Playa Restoration Manager
Department of Public Works
Black Rock City, Nevada USA