“Waste is a taboo in our society, considered as dirt,” mused Ujen Wangmo Lepcha of Moware Designs, which upcycles rubbish into light fixtures and glasses.
“When they see these kind of products they are like ‘wow’, these things can be made and it is possible,” she explained.
Their products are now used in upmarket hotels, restaurants, and homes around the capital, and Lepcha says there is growing consumer interest in goods made from salvaged Everest scraps.
Aanchal Malla of Hotel Yak & Yeti, a luxury five-star hotel in Kathmandu, said opting for the upcycled goods was in-line with the hotel’s move towards sustainable and environmentally friendly products.
“It is not just better for us and the environment but then it goes way bigger than that… it is encouragement of everyone who is trying to move into that direction of making the globe into a better place, reducing all the waste,” Malla said.
A new waste facility — called Sagarmatha Next after the Nepali name for Everest — is also being completed in Syangboche at an altitude of nearly 3,800 metres (12,400 feet), passed by trekkers and mountaineers on the way to the base camp.
It will process garbage, and collaborate with artists and innovators to make new products in a bid to tap into this burgeoning market for Everest ‘products’.