Leave A Better Trace

Dedicated to improving our Glade and our world

Leave No Trace is one of the core principles of Burning Nest, Nowhere, Burning Man, and every Burn event. Essentially, Burners take responsibility for their environmental impact. 

Leave a Better Trace is a step beyond, and started life at London Decompression 2019We believe that the burner community has the power to make a positive impact not only on the individuals who are part of it, but also on society at large. We want to honour the basic burner principle of leaving the environment as we found it, but why stop there when our community has such potential to leave a positive trace? Examples of LBT include planting trees in a place that has been desertified; creating art or facilities that can be used by the local inhabitants after you leave; awakening people to take further actions to protect and improve the environment or become activists.

This means our mission has expanded to include:

  • Reducing our environmental impact.
  • Educating the community on environment related issues.
  • Empowering the community to adopt more environmentally-friendly behaviour, both at burns and in daily life.

Rather than leaving a sea of beer cans, cigarette butts, half-eaten food, discarded packaging, grubby clothes, wellies, sleeping bags and abandoned tents, Burners leave only footprints. It is up to each of us to ensure the long-term survival of our event and its immediate (and larger) environment. We do this by carefully considering what to bring, how to get there, and how we behave on site.

Here are some top tips for reducing your impact before, during and after Nest:

Try to make your travel and Nest experience as sustainable as possible

  • By taking public transport, ride-sharing, or cycling to and from the site. This also creates great opportunities to meet other Nestlings en route! 
  • Consider your environmental impact while you’re there and on the way home. How can you change your actions to lower your carbon costs, reduce waste, compost more, and encourage others to do the same? 
  • You can use this carbon calculator to work out how much carbon you will be using. 
  • You may choose to offset your carbon footprint by paying for tree planting. London Decompression started a grove in a rewilding forest in Scotland, which you might want to support here.

Avoid packaging

  • Remove all excess packaging from everything you buy (food, supplies, tools) before you pack it. Not bringing packaging is one of the best ways to avoid creating rubbish at Nest. 
  • Compostable containers are better; reusable containers are best. 
  • Rather than buying single-use plastic water bottles, consider collaborating with others to order water in reusable containers, or use hard-plastic, reusable water containers that you can fill up with tap water. 
  • You will be expected to take any excessive amounts of rubbish home with you, and you can not dump it on your way back to London. 
  • You can find local farms and farmer’s shops where you can buy food that does not come in plastic packaging and with a lower carbon footprint. For instance we have a local link with Riverford Farms, in Totness (Riverford Organic Farmers) to buy fresh produce from. Websites such as https://www.approvedfood.co.uk/ also prevent food waste with dry and canned goods.
  • If you have to use a supermarket, refuse the plastic bags and request paper bags and boxes (Tesco in Newton Abbot give you this option for example)
  • At the end of Nest, if you have unopened food left over, it can be donated to the Nestlings helping with strike and to local food banks. Important – please separate food that has been opened, and place separately to unopened cans and packages of food. There will be separate places to donate these.

Matter Out Of Place (MOOP)

  • Anything that isn’t in your tent or attached to you can be considered MOOP!
  • Do a daily MOOP sweep of your tent area. If you are with a theme camp, do a line sweep of your camp with your camp-mates making sure you cover the whole area, and picking up every single piece of MOOP. Nothing is too small. If it wasn’t there before you arrived, it must not be there when you leave (or at any time in between). In camping LNT, we call this “making your tent bomb-proof” – that is, it shouldn’t look like your tent has exploded its contents all over. LBT means that even if there was MOOP there before, we can clean that up.
  • Cigarette butts are the most common MOOP item! Buy or make a portable ashtray (a mint tin, for instance) to collect your cigarette butts and ashes. Never, ever drop butts.
  • Bring bin bags. Ensure you pack black bin bags for trash and clear bags for recycling, and some way to get food waste to the compost zone. There are 2 separate skips on site, please make sure you are familiar with what is recyclable and what is not according to the site signage.
  • We provide recycling stations, so ensure that only the correct recyclable rubbish goes in the recycling bins. There is also a compost station on-site which will be marked on the map.
  • Never let MOOP hit the ground. Clean as you go. MOOP attracts more MOOP. When you see trash on the ground, pick it up and take it with you. Be the change you wish to see! Encourage your co-participants to do the same. Don’t be afraid to let someone know they’ve dropped rubbish or used the wrong bin – we are all here to help each other.
  • On the final day of Nest, everyone shares the responsibility of sweeping the site for MOOP. Theme camps will be allotted an area on the MOOP map that is under their direct responsibility to return to its original state. In the free camping area, we are all jointly responsible to MOOP sweep it clean. And if your neighbours aren’t doing this, please use this as an opportunity for teaching rather than for conflict.

The forbidden sparkles

  • Do not bring: loose glitter, feather boas, or anything that can fall off your costume. These items are impossible to recover and contaminate the local environment. Even biodegradable glitter will last a few months on the ground (and still contains some percentage of microplastics), and we want the site to look like we were never there. 
  • If you’re an experienced Burner, set an example for newer members and express your beautiful selves using paint, costumes, or your words and actions.
  • Bring and use upcycled or recycled items over buying new items if you can, consider borrowing items with other attendees and theme camps to save on the environmental impact of buying new things. We even have a camp for costumes for this!

No cup, no drink!

  • Bring your own cup and bowl: disposable cups, plates and cutlery are one of the biggest sources of trash at festivals. Burners make sure they always have an easy-to-carry reusable cup with them to use anywhere, anytime. Be responsible for your cup and keep it clean.
  • You can hook it to yourself with a carabiner, so that you won’t lose it. It can help to label it with name and location in case you do lose it.

Keep it clean

  • Grey water: when pouring any grey water on the ground, ensure that there is no organic solid waste (which goes to the compost) or chemicals. Dispose of it away from any paths, preferably using it to water the trees. You can look up online how to easily make a grey water filter with a sieve, some plastic containers and different layers of sand.
  • Toiletries you use and that end up on the ground, need to be made of natural ingredients and fully biodegradable. If you are not sure that your soap/shampoo/toothpaste is biodegradable, do not use it.
  • Bathing – please do not put soap or shampoo directly in the lake. This creates a biofilm that suffocates animal and plant life. Set up your shower away from the lake, and discourage camp members from rinsing off in there.

Theme Camps

All theme camps are expected to have an LBT plan. 

A plan should include the following:

  1. Guidelines for participants posted in a shared space.
  2. Remove all unnecessary packaging (tools, food, supplies) before arriving on site.
  3. Avoid use of disposable plates, cups, or cutlery.
  4. A schedule for regular rubbish removal, tidying up, and MOOP sweep.
  5. A plan to take your own rubbish and recycling off site.
  6. A plan to tidy up your camp and any related areas no less than 12 hours before your last camp member departs the site.
  7. Knowing your camp MOOP boundaries which will be clearly shown on the Nest MOOP map and with ground markers. 

Each theme camp must have an LNT/LBT liaison person and they must get in touch! They can do so via email or the form linked below.

LBT will be doing site resto during strike between 06th – 08th June. Fancy joining us on a MOOP sweep in the sunshine? Email us to volunteer with LBT. Contact your LBT Leads at LBT@burningnest.co.uk or fill out the volunteer form

Let’s leave a better trace!