The Ultimate Dishwashing System For Large Camps and Gatherings

While designing our breakthrough iSink Water Ritual System, we faced a conundrum: it would be perfect for washing hands, but rather small for washing dishes! And if there is one thing we don’t need at festivals besides skanky hands, it is skanky dishes. So we designed a different water system specifically for dishes – LOTS of dishes! As in your camp of 100+. Here’s how we did it…

Besides needing a larger sink basin that can fit big platters and cookware, we also considered process design for cleaning dishes versus hands – water is scarce in the desert, so anyone with a lot of dishes can use water efficiently through a 4-step cleaning process using four bins (thanks to Jazzi for pioneering this approach at Red Lightning): 

1) Scrape all food wastes off plates/cookware into a waste bin. Perhaps wipe eatery items down with a recycled napkin and throw that in the waste bin too, to enable the water used in remaining steps to go MUCH farther. The waste can go to compost…

2) Scrub the eatery item in a basin filled with soapy water.

3) Rinse the eatery item in a basin filled with clean fresh water. 

4) Sanitize the eatery item in a basin containing a weak diluted bleach solution. 

So, we began with the notion of 3 iSinks in a row, with larger sink basins for #2-4 and an extra bucket at the start to handle #1. How much larger? A 5 gallon sink basin is not much larger than a 2 or 3 gallon basin as used in the iSink, so we settled on 10-gallon Roughneck bins because they are strong enough to pick up and move to a gray water disposal area, even half filled. 

Holding up 3 ten-gallon bins filled with liquid & dishes plus another 3 five-gallon supply bottles above them turned into a giant contraption weighing hundreds of pounds and requiring at least 2 sheets of plywood. So, we copped out and and designed a 1-sheet table-top solution intended to sit on a typical 6’ long folding table. The food waste bin even has its own cute floor stand! 

The key to Dish Delight is that for dishes, we do not need water faucets with a constant flow function like hand washing requires, so you can buy the lowest-cost faucet valves for screw-top or crown-top 5-gallon bottles, and we can hold the bottles at an appropriate angle using a slotted plywood device designed like a wine rack for big fat 5-gallon bottles. 

Logistically, you might only use 2.5 gallons in each 10-gallon sink basin, so each 5-gallon supply bottle may fill its wash basin twice if that. Therefore, you’ll want a way to quickly refill water bottles from your camp water supply and then load them onto the Dish Delight, such as a small transfer pump at the supply side. Similarly, each Homer Bucket drain capacity is only one 5-gallon water supply bottle and only half the max capacity of its sink basin, so you’ll want an efficient way to dump the sink basins before refilling – the 10-gallon basins we chose come with covers, so we think you can carry them to a gray water disposal tank and use a sump pump there, skipping the Homer Buckets entirely (sorry Homer). We do recommend you label your water supplies and roughneck bins “soap”, “rinse”, and “bleach” to avoid mixing them up. 

Now you know how we designed Playatech’s new Dish Delight – the ultimate dishwashing system for larger camps and temporary kitchens. Just put one near your iSink Water Ritual System for hand washing, and your playa soup line is ready for action. We think. Like everything Playatech and indeed everything about Burning Man itself, this is an experiment…

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