Engulf is a young festival with big dreams. When we leave the event and take down our city, we “leave no trace.” Everyone packs out what they pack in, including garbage and recycling. Here are a few guidelines, techniques, and tips to help you effectively leave no trace.

Aim For Zero Waste

Rethink what you need and reduce what you purchase and bring to the event. Before you buy new, take a look at what you already have that can be reused, like decorations, costumes, lights, and camping gear. If you’re lacking some necessities, borrow or coordinate with fellow participants to share resources, or shop second hand – thrift stores, yard sales, Craigslist.

And if you must buy new, purchase items that can be reused year after year. Make sure the items you bring will not fall apart and become Matter Out Of Place (MOOP). Don’t bring loose glitter, sequins, feather boas, Astroturf, styrofoam coolers, plastic bags, paper, string, disposable drink cups, hay bales, straw, gravel—or anything else that can blow away in the wind or turn into a MOOPy mess.

Glitter: we all love to shine but glitter becomes MOOP. Opt for biodegradable. There are many eco-friendly glitter options to choose from.

Rethink Shopping – Eliminate Packaging

Purchase food and beverages in recyclable/compostable containers and avoid materials such as polystyrene, waxed cardboard, or non-recyclable plastic. Buy in bulk whenever possible and bring only what you need – avoid single-serve items, they suck. Opt for aluminum cans instead of glass bottles, they’re easy to recycle and can be crushed to pack out. Remove all packaging at home and repack your items in reusable containers such as totes or in cardboard boxes which can be recycled or burned. And while you’re at it, buy bigger sized mixers for beverages.

Reduce kitchen waste by preparing meals in advance and store food in reusable containers such as tupperware, mason jars, or reusable silicone zipper bags. Preparing meals in advance also minimizes the time you’ll spend cooking at the festival, leaving more time for radically participating. Pro tip: minimize food waste by bringing only ⅔ of what you think you might need – we always think we’re gonna eat more than we actually do.

Reduce or Eliminate The Use of Disposables

Eliminate things that can potentially become MOOP – straws, toothpicks, plastic bags. Think, do I really need them? Paper plates, plastic cups and water bottles leave you more trash to pack out and end up in the landfill. Instead, bring your reusables – water bottle, coffee mug, plate, cutlery – plus you’ll have more places to put your stickers. If you must bring disposables, opt for compostable options which you can find at most grocery stores. And while you’re at it, ditch the disposable water jugs. Fill reusable water containers at home or one of the fresh water fill stations in the area.

Lights and Power

Lights are essential for nighttime and they’re fun, we light up our camps and ourselves. Opt for low energy LED lights and EL wire, they look better, burn brighter, and last longer. Disposable batteries are wasteful and cost a lot more over time, solar or rechargeable lights and batteries are a much better alternative. If you are using disposable batteries, recycle them after the event, you can drop them off at any Radio Shack location. Generators are noisy and inefficient beasts, consider renewable energy such as solar to power your camp. If you must use a generator, opt for biodiesel fuels instead of gasoline.

Recycle, Compost, and Trash

If you’ve made it this far, you know how to minimize the waste you bring to Engulf. The next step is recycling. Plan to separate and sort your trash, recycling and compost and pack it out with you. There are no dumpsters on site.

Bring a mesh bag to dry out food scraps, this makes it lighter and easier to pack out. Composting food waste not only reduces garbage but repurposes the waste to fertilizer – be sure to bring a 5 gallon container with a tight lid for transporting food waste home. It’s easier to pack out when you separate dry and wet food waste in individual containers.

There are no trash receptacles on site so bring heavy duty trash bags and containers to PACK IT OUT! Smokers bring a portable ashtray (a mint container works well) to collect cigarette butts and ash (yes ash is MOOP).


Don’t bring cheap, moopy trinkets for gifts. They end up in the trash or worst as litter in a waterway. Instead give the gift of self – a smile, a tasty treat, or beverage can make someone’s day. Anything that sheds, leave it home. Remember, you are the best gift.

Work together with your neighbors to promote LNT and keep your neighborhood and the city clean.

Be Prepared! Bring a MOOP bag to pick up pieces of trash as you walk around the city. Our community works together to improve our life at Engulf. Talk to others and help them to better understand how to leave no trace.

Getting To Engulf

Coordinate with other participants to carpool – reduce transportation costs and impacts and make new friends even before you get to Engulf.


Let’s prepare to keep Engulf better than we found it! Each one of us can play a part in protecting the health of our community and the beauty of the land on which we burn.

This is brought to you by Guardians of the Earth!
Noami G. and Sam M.