2009 was another exciting year for Recycle Camp. Our setup went smoothly and the whole camp came together right on schedule. We had a solid veteran build crew and we timed early arrivals well to coordinate with the different stages of setup. The basic infrastructure of three shipping containers, three shade structures, four domes and a deck were all in place by the end of the setup week, ready for the rest of the crew to show up to help with the finishing touches.

There were 34 people camping with us, about half were first timers to Recycle Camp and many were first time Burners. Additionally, we had 6-8 others that didn?t camp with us but worked with us on set up Saturday and Sunday and helped daily at the camp along with the dozens of participants dropping in or being pulled in throughout the event week. Recycle Camp is growing; 50% growth in campers from 2008 to 2009; this will be the new challenge for us to address in 2010 and beyond.

We had the camp kitchen constructed before the kitchen crew arrived so they could move right in and set up. As planned back in 2008, we upgraded our water system for 2009. We had potable and grey water setup with a pump and all the plumbing. We acquired a used stainless steel sink, counter top for the sink as well as additional counter space. We also found a used full-size refrigerator that made it much easier to keep perishable foods for the whole event. With the increased size of the camp and increased use of the kitchen, these were very much needed improvements.

Our new kitchen managers hooked us up this year; thanks to a generous donation of their time and the items they found at garage and yard sales, our kitchen is now outfitted with all sorts of new things. We added a bar to the kitchen set up, complete with bar stools and a neon Recycle Camp sign. We all enjoyed prepared breakfasts, dinners and do-it-yourself lunches each day, and cocktails, mocktails and four different home-brewed beers every night. It will be a challenge and a lot of fun to make it even better next year.

We more than doubled our volunteer camping shade this year over last year without purchasing additional materials. We simply redesigned the layout and acquired additional shade cloth left over from the 2007 Green Man Base. We were challenged with failures of some of the hardware from the original design in 2008. Next year we plan to upgrade to new hardware that will last longer and allow for continued reuse, easier setup and strike, and easier storage.

In 2008 we retired the signature burlap sacks and began using large garlic crates for the storage of the crushed aluminum cans. 2009 brought a further evolution when we decided to switch to using yet another kind of container for the collection of the cans. We sourced and purchased used bulk bags, known as super sacks, which worked very well. Each sack held on average 20% more cans than the garlic crates. It was even possible to move the sacks around in the camp, without the need for heavy equipment, from the filling area to the staging area.

By the end of the event, Recycle Camp had filled 23 super sacks with over 125,000 aluminum cans, weighing more than 4,000 pounds. The sacks were loaded into a semi trailer and transported to Earth First Recycling in Reno. This year?s haul yielded the largest donation ever for the Gerlach School Student Council. A check in the amount of $1,500 was hand-delivered to the school in mid-November. There was a little ceremony, a few pictures taken and (most of all) much appreciation for all those who made it possible.

All those involved with Recycle Camp as well as all of the efforts in Black Rock City intent on reducing the landfill waste generated by the Burning Man event ought to feel immense pride in a job well done in 2009.

Recycle Camp is ready for 2010!

Submitted by,
Paul Schreer