• This article is part of the following channel(s)

Products made from waste from the Himalayas

Dutch design studio Super Local, in collaboration with Nepalese non-profit Sagarmatha Next, designed products made from plastic waste found in the Himalayas, transported by locals and tourists.

Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal is home of the Himalayas and Mount Everest. Annually, the park draws over 80,000 visitors. During the trekking season, approximately 1 metric ton of waste is left each day in the Everest region. The high altitude, lack of connectivity, and limited recycling infrastructure make it challenging to remove waste, resulting in more than 80 open pits in the region in which waste is burned. This contaminates the soil, water, and air, and threatens biodiversity.

Super Local and Sagarmatha Next collaborated to create two progammes to remove trash from the park. The first is the ‘Carry me back’ crowdsourced programme, in which locals and tourists are encouraged to transport waste. At their new processing facility, local waste management organisation Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) sorts and shreds, which is packed in 1 kilo “Carry me back” bags. The filled bags are then offered to locals and visitors at a pick-up station, who then transport the waste via hiking trails to the regional airport, where the trash can be transported for recycling.

For the processing of HDPE water bottle caps, Super Local created the project ‘From the Himalayas’, a collection of three different pebble-shaped plastic ‘stones’, and a scale model of the Himalayas’ most iconic peaks that tourist can buy. To make the products, Super Local developed an end-to-end process including setting up an appropriate plastics workspace, building two hand-operated plastic injection machines utilising the open-source blueprints of Precious Plastic, and training the local staff through hands-on support during the first weeks of production.

Photos: Super Local / Sagarmatha Next