A system to remove, process, and transform waste from the Everest region
The majestic beauty of Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal, home of Mount Everest, draws over 80,000 visitors annually, offering tourists an unforgettable experience in nature. While this has brought considerable socio-economic benefits to the area, it has also resulted in tragic amounts of waste and pressure on the region’s delicate ecosystem during the last few decades.
In collaboration with Sagarmatha Next we developed the “Carry me back” program and the “From the Himalayas” product collection. These important initiatives offer sustainable solutions to remove, process, and transform waste from the Everest region.
Product and system design
Production process design
Storytelling and documentation
January 2017 - July 2022
The waste problem
During the trekking season, approximately 1 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 - contaminating the soil, water, and air and threatening biodiversity.
CARRY ME BACK
The “Carry me back” program is a crowdsourced waste removal system that harnesses the movement of locals and tourists from the mountains to lower regions where transported waste can be recycled.
Waste is collected from the open pits, restaurants, lodges, and hiking trail trash bins by the local waste management organization Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC). At their new processing facility, waste is sorted, shredded, and packed in 1 kilo “Carry me back” bags.
The filled bags are then offered to locals and visitors at a pick-up station. The ”Carry me back” bags are easily clipped onto backpacks and transported via the trail to the regional airport. Private airlines transport it to Kathmandu where a partner facility recycles the waste.