Poop in a Cooler: A BM Story

Symbolic dramatization. Not to scale.
Symbolic dramatization. Not to scale.

Once upon a time, some 340 days ago, a Reno grocery store employee received a very special Burning Man gift. It was a cooler full of poop. Some thoughtful Burner had left this doo-doo cooler at a trash drop-off point.

“Wow!” said the grocery store employee (I am assuming this is what he or she may have said).

“Wow! This is the most memorable gift a Burner could possibly leave for me. I will remember this gift, and it will help me to understand Burning Man culture so that I can pass this lesson on to my friends.”

“Unfortunately,” the grocery store employee continued, “this gift violates about one million health codes and I find its odor offensive. Maybe next time, the Burner whose excrement I am currently staring at will find a more hygienic way to dispose of their personal fecal matter.”

Interesting reaction. I suppose not every gift is received as well as it was intended. That said, this very nice person, who was probably working extra hours to receive Burning Man trash, may not have expected to find human hazardous waste mixed in with other, less hazardous garbage.

A lesson for us all! Turns out, we should not hand our poops over to other people unless they are actually asking for poops. More to the point, the EXTRA trash and recycling network is not a potty. Please do not donate your turds to local grocery stores. Thanks!

Bathroom Beacons by Gaylen Hamilton. Photo: angeldye on Flickr.
Bathroom Beacons by Gaylen Hamilton. Photo: angeldye on Flickr.

Mommy, Where Does Poop Go?

I am actually not your mommy, but hopefully she taught you that your doody goes in the potty. Black Rock City is festooned with temporary crap receptacles in various states of amazing. And okay, let’s say you have a physical or emotional limitation that makes it hard for you to “go” inside the blue sauna of doom. And let’s say you solve that problem by relieving yourself into a nice, air-tight portable groover of some sort. Let’s say, after the event, you are not sure what to do with your box’o’drama.

Surprise! It goes into the potty. Into the tank, not left outside as a gift for the cleaning lady or gent. Take your dumps and dump ’em right in there. Please don’t overflow it, please please do not do that.

Same goes for your jugs of pee, of which I have personally had the misfortune to handle a few over the years. Please don’t make me pick that up. My job is already weird enough.

There’s more. Get full information on human hazardous waste at Burning Man! A great read!

What about my RV black water?

First off, thank you for driving it away from the desert, instead of dumping it on the ground where it will eventually be dug up and removed by grouchy humans.

Here’s a list of local spots to dump your black and grey water. Contact these locations directly before the event for charges, hours, possible after-hours appointments, and dump capacity.

  • I-80 Smokeshop & Campground: 1000 Smoke Shop Circle, Wadsworth, NV, 775-575-2185
  • Pyramid Lake Marina Campground: 2500 Lakeview Drive, Sutcliffe, NV, 775-476-1155
  • Love’s: 825 Commerce Center Drive, Fernley, NV, 775-575-2200
  • Golden Gate Petroleum: 1055 South Rock Blvd, Sparks, NV, 775-358-7400
  • TA Travel Center: 815 Nichols Blvd, Sparks, NV, 775-359-0550
  • Reno Boomtown KOA: 2100 West Garson Rd., Verdi, NV, 775-345-2444
  • Terribles Gold Ranch RV: 320 Gold Ranch Road, Verdi, NV, 775-345-6789

So are you trying to tell me that poop is not my gift to the world?

No. Your poop is amazing. I’m super proud of you for making it. Nothin’ butt love, right?

Just, you know. Don’t be a jerk about it.

Photo: scjody on Flickr.
Photo: scjody on Flickr.

Burning Man is a Leave No Trace Event.

There is no garbage collection service at Burning Man. We are the largest Leave No Trace event in the world. This means that every participant is responsible for making the greatest possible effort to leave the Black Rock Desert in the same condition (or better!) than it was in when you arrived. That includes picking up Matter Out Of Place, packing out all your own trash, not polluting the playa and avoiding burn scars and oil drips.

Leave No Trace is one of the Ten Principles guiding our community. Our 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.

About the author: The Hun

The Hun

The Hun, also known as J.H. Fearless, has been blogging for Burning Man (and many other outlets) since 2005, which is also the year she joined the BRC DPW on a whim that turned out to be a ten-year commitment. Since then she's won some awards for blogging, built her own creative business, and produced some of the Burning Blog's most popular stories and series. She co-created a grant-funded art piece, "Refoliation," in 2007, and stood next to it watching the Man burn on Monday night during a full lunar eclipse. She considers that, in many ways, to have been the symbolic end of Burning Man that was. The Hun lives in Reno with DPW Shade King, Quiet Earp. You may address her as "The Hun" or "Hun". If you call her "Honey" she reserves the right to cut you.

4 Comments on “Poop in a Cooler: A BM Story