Recycle Camp 2020 Fundraiser for the Gerlach K-12 School

Recycle Camp is a Black Rock City Community Services camp. Recycle Camp has organized this fundraiser for the specific purpose of raising funds for the Gerlach K-12 school in Gerlach, NV — all gifts will be sent directly to the Gerlach K-12 School.

Show Us Your Cans!


Show us your cans is the oldest mantra at Recycle Camp. In any other Universe, in any other year, we would be deep in the middle of Build Week in Black Rock City, just days away from another AWESOME week of welcoming friends and strangers from around the globe to show us their cans and crush them with our bicycle-powered crusher, The Blue-Duck.

Photo: Robert Bruce Anderson

Recycle Camp is the brainchild of Simon Haggar and Diane Whitmore. Way back in Black Rock City 1995, they asked the question, “Why is there no recycling at Burning Man?” The answer they got: “Why don’t you start a camp?” They returned to BRC in 1997 with some bikes and trailers made from shopping carts and a plan to collect as many aluminum cans as possible during the event and gift the proceeds to the school in Gerlach. They caught the attention of Cultural Founder Harley K. Dubois that year and officially joined the Community Services Department as a staff camp in 1998. Simon passed the torch to mr. blue in 2001 and for 22 years Recycle Camp has given this gift to the Gerlach School.

Photo: mr. blue

In 2019, Recycle Camp collected, crushed and recycled over 375,000 aluminum cans and gave a gift of $2,741.20 to the Gerlach K-12 School. Though it was a record number of aluminum cans, the price we received went way down in 2019. With the global pandemic and resulting cancellation of Black Rock City 2020, we were saddened at the thought of NO Recycle Camp, NO aluminum cans, and NO gift at all for the school. Well, we say YES to keeping the Burning Man and Recycle Camp tradition alive in 2020 and we say YES to raising $3,000 to gift to the Gerlach K-12 School this year. It is in that spirit that we have organized this fundraiser with the goal of raising $3,000 for the Gerlach K-12 School.

Photo: mr. blue

We are asking Burners: if you have ever had a great experience at Recycle Camp while showing us your cans, please join us as we share and show our collective love of Recycle Camp and for the Gerlach K-12 School in this crazy year of uncertainty, especially for schools. With this gift, they are able to purchase necessary classroom supplies and take field trips to explore Nevada, like swimming in the Fernley pool and visiting the Discovery and Wilbur D. May museums in Reno.

In the year of the Multiverse, you will find us everywhere beginning 9am Sunday August 30th through 5pm Monday September 7th, and you can find Recycle Camp in the Multiverse in BRCvr. Follow along as we share stories from the volunteers who make Recycle Camp happen year after year, and we invite you to share your stories with us.

Thank you!


Header photograph: Kirsten Mohan

About the author: Paul Schreer

Paul Schreer

Blue wears a variety of hats for the Burning Man Project. Year-round, he can be found at Burning Man Project headquarters in San Francisco as the Facilities Manager. During the event season, you will find Blue in the Department of Public Works, handling Waste Stream Logistics and designing lighting for The Man Pavilion. And with the Community Services Department as Project Manager for Recycle Camp. Blue made his first trek to Black Rock City in 2001 and immediately felt at home.

11 Comments on “Recycle Camp 2020 Fundraiser for the Gerlach K-12 School

  • Sunny Daze says:

    Thank you for organizing! I know it must mean so much to the Gerlach school.

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  • CRV is a poor people tax says:

    Before Covid19, when I would take out a hug bag of cans after a party/event I would think “Man if someone thought I was drinking all this, they would probably be worried about me.” Now I take out a huge bag of cans w/o having any kind of gathering and think “Yup. This is what I’ve become.”

    I will donate accordingly to appease the party gawds.

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  • Yoshonda says:

    Not even one PoC in that picture. It seems like you’d need to work pretty hard to keep a group that large all white. So much inherent racism and bias. Black Lives Matter! Try talking to one some day.

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    • NotNowSatan says:

      Your presumptions of the culture of each person in this blog, including all the children at Gerlach and the ones with dusty face covers, clearly indicates you will shuffle your soap box anywhere, including when irrelevant.

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    • Sarah says:

      There are POC in the picture. Medium and light skinned brown and black people exist. I understand the concern of BRC being very predominantly white, but I think I that you can find much more productive ways of communicating and places to effect change.

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  • Yoshonda says:

    @NotNowSatan
    @ Sarah

    Thank you both for whitesplaining that so eloquently. That’s exactly how you people have oppressed the Black Brothers and Sisters for hundreds of years. It must be nice to be able to spread your culture so freely and carelessly… Don’t worry, I’m headin on back to the plantation. Please don’t beat me no more.

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  • Juno says:

    Thank you for organizing this fantastic fundraiser, Mr. Blue! Your dedication inspires me. :)

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  • Chef Juke says:

    This is a response to poster Yoshanda,

    Chef Juke from the Diversity Equity and Radical Inclusion Stewardship team at Burning Man
    Project here. This team are a group of managers and leaders that are helping organize and oversee the Anti-Racism work going on at Burning Man.
    Yes. You are not wrong about the folks in the pic being mostly white. There are any number of groups within Burning Man and the event overall that are not as diverse or wholly inclusive as we’d like them to be…. and we are working on it.

    See:
    https://journal.burningman.org/2020/08/news/official-announcements/an-update-on-diversity-radical-inclusion/

    Part of the efforts we’re working on is having each of the teams within Burning Man look at how their volunteering processes work to help them become more inclusive.

    We are still a long way from where we hope to be, and lots of work to be done to get there, but we’re working on rethinking all the different aspects of what we do and how we do them (and who is deciding) to help make Burning Man Project the organization AND Burning Man the event less racist.

    If you have additional questions or feedback, feel free to email diversity@burningman.org

    -Chef Juke

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    • Yoshanda says:

      There’s only one solution: Forced re-education of ALL white people of every age. Camps should be built and any resistance should be dealt with harshly. All white people are born racist, and until we can remove the racism gene in-vitro, re-education is the only solution.

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  • Some Seeing Eye says:

    Thank you for organizing this fundraiser. We want Gerlach to survive and thrive, and that includes its families!

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