Burning Man 2006 brought continued growth and success for Recycle Camp. Returning Recyclenauts plus a few new recruits made for a relatively smooth and enjoyable set-up week. Each of us had our key roles and everyone worked hard to get the infrastructure of the camp in place. We did have a bit of a challenge trying to set up the workspace without the help of our carpenter from 2005. But patience prevailed and cavalry arrived just in time to install the previously erected 24-foot dome atop the ramped structure. With a few more artistic additions to the dome, Recycle Camp once again had the snazziest-looking workspace on the playa.

Recycle Camp was also sporting a spiffy new kitchen structure, made entirely out of wood salvaged from the Dicky Box installation from Burning Man 2005. With one part salvaged countertop found at Burning Man headquarters, two parts re-purposed shade cloth, and a dash of volunteer love, we had a playa-fine kitchen setup. The kitchen is certainly one place where community begins. Everyone signed up to cook meals for the crew and we all enjoyed the delights together. It is re-use and re-sourcing like this that helped secure Recycle Camp a spot once again on the Leave No Trace Model Theme Camp Tour, organized by BRC’s own Earth Guardians. This continues to be an honor that we strive for as responsible citizens of Black Rock City.

Recycle Camp had another successful year collecting aluminum cans and interacting with Black Rock City citizens. We were up and running ahead of schedule on Monday morning, with our first cans and visitors arriving at 9 AM, followed by a minor setback with the crushing machine. Back in the offseason, a group of volunteers got together to fix the weakest part of the crushing machine: the axles. The original design did not have the axles running all the way through the barrels, and this is where we had serious failures in 2004 and 2005. The fixes from before 2005 proved to be inadequate, and a complete redesign was necessary.

A year ago, we were thinking that replacing the barrels meant building entirely new ones. The best part of our new and improved design was that we were able to strip off all of the unnecessary parts and re-use the barrels. This was important to us and very much a positive. Unfortunately, some of the used parts that we acquired were incompatible with existing parts, and this was not discovered until we were assembling the crusher on Monday morning. After a successful trip to Reno Tuesday morning, we had the machine fully operational by Tuesday evening and crushing cans on Wednesday morning.

After eight days of collecting, crushing, stomping and bagging, oh and of course doing our part to educate the masses, we had close to 300 burlap bags filled with crushed cans. We donated over 120,000 cans to Gerlach High School at the close of the event — approximately two tons of aluminum that fetched about $800 for the school after expenses. We are proud to give back to the local community while being a voice for respecting, rethinking, reducing, reusing, recycling, and restoring in Black Rock City.

With the announcement of the theme for Burning Man 2007 (The Green Man) and the buzz around the grassroots movement (Greening the Burn), the crew of dedicated conservationists behind Recycle Camp got extra-excited. We held our first-ever, post-event ‘Crew De-brief and Brainstorming’ session right there on the playa. We even had friends, from the Burn Clean Project and the new Burning Man theme camp Evolutionary Center, join us for the brainstorm. We are all inspired to work together to shift the eco-paradigm in Black Rock City. Plans are already being made to showcase Recycle Camp as a shining beacon in the new, green Black Rock City. Come find us and see how you can play a role in this exciting future for our community.

Kindly Submitted by,
Paul Schreer AKA Blue