Nepal has a lot of plastic waste – and when I say a lot, I mean really a lot! It’s one of the negative side-effects of having so many trekkers coming through, drinking from plastic bottles, and not wanting to carry their waste. Each bottle thrown away on its own might not seem like much, but the cumulative effect is devastating to the environment, and over the past few years CRED Partner PSD-Nepal have been working to develop programmes to help reverse the problem.
One of those programmes has been the recycling programme, whereby plastic bottles are gathered up and used to construct educational information sites for locals and tourists, situated along some of the main trekking routes.
Certainly these sites have helped to get people thinking about the issue of waste, and the impacts and effects of non-biodegradable plastics on the environment. But PSD wanted to find ways to create other products out of the bottles, that could reach into local markets, and provide local employment.
To this end, they have recently embarked on a new programme of upcycling. Thanks to some generous donations from UK and Europe, PSD has been able to acquire two upcycling machines and some moulds, and the local teams are now in full swing producing carabiners, clothes pegs, flower pots, and other items.
The goods are selling on the local markets, to Nepalese and tourists alike, and the local economy is benefiting. Over time, there are plans to grow the production lines further, but this is certainly a very good start.