Recycle Camp

Our 15th year on the playa, 2012, leading by example and promoting sustainability to the participants of Burning Man. Recycle Camp is a thriving example of the Gift Economy. A vital thread in the fabric and culture of Black Rock City. A family of hard working and environmentally minded volunteers, working together to create a fun space for Burners to interact and participate in the only camp where it’s OK to leave a trace.

Recycle camp is traditionally a mix of veterans and first timers, and 2012 was no exception. The Camp hosted a dozen newbies and welcomed back an additional two dozen seasoned recyclers. As usual, we had our friends and diehards that don’t camp with us but work with us daily at the camp along with the dozens of participants dropping in, bringing us their cans or just being pulled in off the street. We were pleased to have the Dragon Smelter Crew join us again. We set them up on the 6:00 & Center Camp corner. They were hanging out every afternoon with their aluminum coin press. Participants were lined up to press their own original 2012 souvenir coin from an ingot made from aluminum cans that were collected in Black Rock City. Recycling! Right in front of your eyes and in your hands.We made some major changes to the camp infrastructure and layout for 2012. The DPW Shade Crew built us a 24′ x 24′ shade structure and we surrounded it with our shipping containers. This new “Central Compound” concept gave us protection from the elements, a certain level of privacy, and double the space for our bar area and expanded roomy camp kitchen. Setup week went very smoothly, we even found out that you can build a 24′ geodesic dome upside down, at night. And pallet rack makes a great tower. We had a solid crew on site the Sunday before setup week. Our DPW shade structures were up when we arrived – Shade Crew Rocks!

Our setup crew began erecting five domes and installing the rest of our shade. The shade for volunteer camping – nine 12′ x 24′ sections of green shade cloth that we re-purposed from the Man Base 2007, the Green Mountain – went up next. The DJ booth was set up ASAP, so we had music while we worked. With the new larger shade structure, we had to design the new bar area and larger kitchen space. The new countertops, where the sink goes, the grey water and the stoves. The DPW plumbing crew labored in 100 degree temperatures to hook up our water. We love them! The rest of the crew arrived throughout the week, just in time to lay out the carpets and the vinyl ground coverings and hang the lighting and décor. The infamous “Blue-Duck”, the state of the art bicycle powered aluminum can crushing machine, was set up ahead of schedule. We’re ready to go. Bring us your cans!!!At the end of the event, BRC Recycle Camp 2012 had filled two 30 yd. containers with crushed aluminum cans, over 170,000 aluminum cans weighing more than 5,000 pounds. The cans are transported to Earth First Recycling in Reno. The relationship with Earth First is one of the reasons we love doing this, they are great. The proceeds from the aluminum are donated to the Gerlach K-12 School. A check in the amount of $1,575 was delivered to the school in November. The students at K-12 School are super appreciative each year to receive this donation which benefits them directly. The kids tell us about field trips to the art museums in Reno and art supplies in the classrooms. Recycle Camp is honored to continue our support of the K-12 School and the town of Gerlach.

BRC Recycle Camp will always be thankful to the staff, volunteers and participants of Black Rock City for understanding that together we can divert more and more each year away from the landfill. Thank you to everyone for another great year.

Submitted by,
Paul Schreer