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LNT Newsletter #2

Jane Purchall

The next topic in our Lovin Oven LNT series is the all-important issue of pee and poop! Or, more precisely, everything you need to know about porta potties!

NEW in 2018, Lovin Oven campers will be blessed with our own private porta potties, a luxury few burners have the honor of enjoying during their week in the dust! We decided to spring for our own portas as a matter of convenience and hopefully cleanliness as well. Even still, LNT and responsible potty use applies to ALL potties on the playa, and our campers won't necessarily be at camp every time they need to go. 

We aspire to create a camp culture that encourages all of our campers to set an example by embodying impeccable potty etiquette and LNT practices everywhere they go.

We'd like to start this discussion by highlighting this amazing presentation, created by Elder Wrong of the Pottie Project, explaining the significance of portas on the playa and how LNT applies there. The Pottie Project has been around for 17 burns now, and is probably most well-known for creating and distributing postings inside playa portas, espousing the importance of leave no trace as well as porta potty etiquette And, in addition to the often humorous pictures and poems that can be found in virtually every public potty on the playa, the Potty Project oversees a variety of potty education efforts which you can read about in their slideshow presentation.

Now, we at the Lovin Oven would like to highlight the following guidelines for responsible potty use on-playa:

No pooping and peeing on the playa surface

Leave No Trace means that nothing that doesn't belong can be left on the surface of the playa. It doesn't matter if the material being left is "natural" or biodegradable (like wood chips, orange peels, or even water) ~ it's still MOOP. To that end, YOU MAY NOT POO OR PEE ANYWHERE ON THE PLAYA SURFACE! Even if you reeeeaaaaally need to go and the potties feel far away. Even if it's sooooo quick and easy to whip it out and pee right next to the bank of public portas instead of waiting in line. Please use the porta potties always.

 If it doesn't come out of your body, it doesn't go in the potty!

If you take only one thing away from this blog post, let it be this guiding principle. It's pretty self-explanatory, but if you're looking for more specifics on that, refer to the handy lists below

Things that CANNOT go in a playa porta:
2-ply toilet paper (or anything thicker)
tampons, pads & panty liners
grey water (from a camp shower or kitchen)
undigested foods or beverages (including that warm beer you're done with)
Things that CAN go in a playa porta: 
period blood
1-ply toilet paper

Be a polite potty user

Although slightly tangential to the topic of LNT, porta potty etiquette is an issue of critical importance. It affects all burners, as well as the United service employees who have to pump and clean the potties. Please follow these tips:

There exists a truly paradoxical phenomenon wherein individuals who are concerned about the cleanliness of a porta potty seat (or who find their seat already soiled with bodily fluids) choose to hover or squat over the seat rather than sitting down. This, in turn, leads them to miss the potty, thereby creating the exact conditions they were attempting to avoid. If you wish not to ever encounter pee or poop on the seat of a porta potty, kindly sit the fuck down! If you are a true germaphobe, reconsider your trip to the playa. Thank you :)


Some of the bravest among us go beyond merely sittin' when they're shittin' - that most basic tenant of potty etiquette - in order to elevate not just their own potty experience, but the experience of all those who come after. They don't wait for a pristine potty to open up when the bank is due for a clean and restock, They take what they get and leave it better for the next burner. When They encounter a seat with pee, They wipe it clean. When They find trash - abandoned beer cans, unsoiled wipes, glow sticks, etc. - They pick it up. We are unworthy of these heroes.
Have you the capacity to become one of Them?

A final note

For the humans out there that rely on menstrual products or enjoy the squeaky-clean feel of a freshly wet-wiped bum, you might be wondering how to reconcile these needs/desires with responsible LNT practices in the porta potties.

For single-use potty products like tampons, pads, and wet wipes, we recommend always carrying a gallon-sized ziplock freezer bag in your backpack while out and about on the playa. These can be used to carry all kinds of MOOP you may come across in your travels, including your own waste and items found on the ground.

For the ladies who are interested in more sustainable alternatives to single-use menstrual products for the playa or day-to-day in the default world, I highly recommend exploring reusable options like menstrual cups, machine-washable cloth pads, and absorbent underwear (thinx). Make LNT a year-round practice!