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super local x sagarmatha next turn waste from world's highest peaks into colorful mementos

‘carry me back’: managing waste in nepal’s everest region 

 

Dutch design firm Super Local has partnered with Nepalese nonprofit organization Sagarmatha Next to manage what it calls ‘the world’s highest garbage dump’. The collaboration, titled ‘Carry me back,’ is a sustainable solution to remove, process, and transform municipal waste from Nepal’s Everest Region into colorful plastic-based products. ‘The ‘Carry me back’ scheme turns trash into treasure. Propelled by tourists who carry the waste, discarded in the Himalayan mountains, back down the trail,’ writes Super Local.

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looking towards the southwest face of Mount Everest | all images courtesy of Super Local

 

 

The majestic scenery of Sagarmatha National Park, home of Mount Everest, draws over 80,000 visitors annually, offering tourists an unforgettable experience in nature. Unfortunately, while introducing considerable socio-economic benefits to the area, touristic activities have also resulted in tragic amounts of waste piling up, compromising the region’s delicate ecosystem in the last few decades.

 

In light of this, Sagarmatha Next (see more here) and Super Local (see more here) partnered with a local waste management organization to create ‘Carry me back’, a crowdsourced waste removal program. This system harnesses the movement of locals and tourists from the Everest region to Kathmandu, where a partner facility recycles the trash. Locals and visitors alike responded enthusiastically to the program, with some carrying up to 14 kilos of waste on their way. As a result, tons of it are removed from the Everest region every hiking season.

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municipal waste is separated and salvaged for removal from a dumping pit

 

 

‘from the himalayas’ collection: turning trash into treasure 

 

While some materials, like water bottles and aluminum cans, are processed on an industrial scale, Super Local was tasked with converting thousands of HDPE water bottle caps into unique products that tourists can buy, both averting waste and financing Sagarmatha Next’s important work. The final output is the ‘From the Himalayas’ product collection, consisting of three pebble-shaped plastic stones and a scale model of the region’s most iconic peaks. In fact, each stone can be used as a keychain ‘which serves as a memento for tourists to remember their trip to the Everest region, replacing the harmful practice of bringing stones back from the area,’ notes the Dutch firm. 

 

Ultimately, these items become a perfect reminder for tourists to look back on their hiking adventures among the world’s largest summits while, hopefully, carrying on their responsibility to the environment, even as they return home.

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municipal waste is collected and removed from the Everest region

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‘Carry me Back’ pouches filled with HDPE plastic bottle caps

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hikers remove waste by travelling with ‘Carry me back’ bags to lower regions where it is processed

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bottle lids are sorted and shredded at the recycling facility

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‘Himalaya Scale’ model is made from recovered HDPE plastic bottle lids found in the Everest region

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large, small and medium ‘Himalaya stones’

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project info:

 

initiative name: Carry me Back

collection name: From the Himalayas
design: Super Local | @superlocal

collaborator: Sagarmatha Next@sagarmathanext

 

 

designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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