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Leave no Trace
Remember the Guiding Principles? Leaving no Trace is a big part of our ethos.

Cigarette "stompies" (butts), GLITTER, glow sticks and glow stick connectors, tent stakes, bottle caps, ashes (yup!), duct tape scraps, wood debris, matchsticks, orange peels, pistachio shells, boa feathers, rope fibres, sequins, false eyelashes – even abandoned bikes…oh, and did we mention the stompies (cigarette butts) and cable ties?

MOOP also includes natural materials. They are not OK to leave in the desert – in the desert, things take ages to decompose. Hay, seashells, pretty rocks that you have brought from elsewhere, plant matter, fruit peels, vegetable peels, nut shells, feathers, coffee grounds, etc. are all things that must be removed.

There is no rubbish collection in Tankwa Town. Everything you bring in, you must take back with you: Every. Single. Thing. If it came with you, it leaves with you.

Make a plan to keep these on you and off the desert floor.
What you don't bring with, you don't need to bag and take home with you.

START WHEN YOU ARE PACKING. Before you head to the desert:

• Remove excess packaging from everything (and recycle it at home) – store food in re-usable, air-tight containers.

• Make good choices when buying drinks. Don’t bring glass - if it breaks you will 100% not be able to pick up every shard. Buy cans or decant into plastic (cans can be crushed and plastic bottles can be used as eco-bricks which help to consolidate your waste to save space on the return journey).

• Shake your hat/outfit/headdress really really hard before you pack it into your bag - did anything fall off? DON'T PACK IT! Your feather boa, glitter, confetti, sequins, feathers absolutely will fall off! Your styrofoam will break and you will spend a good few hours running after tiny white balls. Make your life simple, don't pack it!

• Please don't bring flying lanterns, flares or fireworks.

• Plan your meals - think about refrigeration and storage. Remember - if you don’t eat it, you’ll have to cart rotting food home. The way-back stench is real and distinctly not lekker.

Liquids can also be MOOP! This shot of a watermelon-ridden cooler box back in 2008 by Monique Schitzenbaum.

What the heck do I do with my used water?!

Water is a scarce resource in the desert, but we still wash with it (whether that be dishes or our bodies)... so what do we do with our used water (or greywater) in a Leave no Trace situation?


Catch your shower water in a bucket and use biodegradable EVERYTHING (shampoo, conditioner, scrubs without plastic, shaving stuff, toothpaste, you name it).

Reuse your shower water for your camp dishes (see dishes below) or sprinkle it onto the roads in front of your camp to keep dust down - don't make a puddle, think about evaporation. Even better would be to evaporate it completely from the bucket but that is not always possible.

Drying out scraps in the sun ensures minimal smell and easy disposability.


Food scraps are MOOP! Visible moisture puddles or stains on the ground are MOOP!

Creative method of disposing of grey water.

Bring a 25 litre bucket (or two) with a lid for your organics. Scrape your scraps into these and keep them sealed. Lick your plates and cutlery clean as best you can. Wipe them with paper towels if needed. Said paper towels can be dried out somewhere safe from wind, and burnt. Alternatively, it must be bagged and taken home with you in your own vehicle.

If you need more than a wipe to get them clean, wash dishes with that shower water that you saved and biodegradable soap, then take that water and strain it through a very fine mesh to remove food scraps. These scraps can be popped into your organics bucket or carefully dried on their own and then burnt. If the water has ANY grease or fat in it, it should be decanted into your waste water container and taken home with you.

Sprinkle this now filtered dish water very finely, far away from your camp or on the road to keep dust down, where it will not form a pool and evaporate quickly. Even better would be to evaporate it completely from the bucket but that is not always possible - but get as creative as you can.


Our Leave No Trace team are a dedicated bunch volunteers who stay in Tankwa Town for about 3 weeks after the event to restore the desert to its previous beauty, record the MOOP that was found and produce a MOOP Map - keen to join? email moop@afrikaburn.com

If you aren't able to take that much time out, you can join us on MOOP swoops during the event! Sign up here or just swing by the Volunteer Booth at Off Centre Camp for more info.

What do I do with my grey water?

Leave No Trace Facebook Group