The Last Plastic-Free Places on Earth: The Land of Reuse

Sometimes you have to travel to the other side of the planet to find reuse inspirations you had never considered before. Following the banks of the Kali Gandaki River, we’ve finally entered the land of reuse, one of the most challenging places to live, yet innovation and creativity with the things one would normally throw away can be seen at every bend in the road.

Reuse, here in remote parts of Nepal, is simply a matter of necessity. Goods that are carried up into the hinterlands are here to stay, forever. There’s no garbage truck to carry off the refuse and little resources available to make and fix things. But the people who live here are incredibly resourceful, repurposing what they have into useful things for the home. For thousands of years, the Himalayan people here, currently the Loba, Thakali, and Magar, have made do with what they have and have reused the items in their lives with fervor. The following images are a few garden and farming reuses we’ve come across in lower Mustang.

Garden and Farm Reuse, Thakali-Style:

Construct a garden fence from scrap wood tied together with elephant grass reeds.

Wood is precious in Mustang so if a fence is needed, scraps are found to create it and lashings are adhered to hold the wood scraps together. These fences are made of sustainable materials.

This Thakali family tied a bamboo fence together with electrical wire

Anything that can hold something is turned into a planter in Mustang. Since the landscape is so harsh, container gardens are very successful here.

Bucket planters are the rage in Mustang

Lettuces and Herbs are Planted in Large Styrofoam Boxes that would Otherwise be Thrown by the Roadside

Some of the most beautiful handmade brooms can be found in Mustang.

Even sticks are repurposed into brooms and garden rakes