What do you get when a record number of climbers ascend Everest? More trash, the Nepalese government discovered this year after collecting over 11 tons from the world's tallest mountain in May. It's been called the "world's highest garbage dump."

To cut down on waste, Nepal is banning single-use plastics from its Khumbu Pasang Lhamu rural municipality, home to Mount Everest and several other peaks. 

The ban, starting January 2020, covers plastic of less than 0.03 millimeters thick—such as bags and wrappers—and plastic bottles for drinks other than water. Trekkers won't be allowed to bring plastic in and shops won't be allowed to sell items in the ban.

The government hasn't decided what the punishment will be for those who break the rules. But they're working with trekking companies, airlines, and the Nepal Mountaineering Association to enforce the new policy, The Himalayan Times reported.

"It is important that both mountaineers and tourists visiting base camp learn to practice Leave No Trace ethics," professional ski mountaineer Caroline Gleich said. She and her now-husband with Alpenglow Expeditions summited Everest in May. 

Most of the trash on Everest is related to survival—oxygen bottles, tarps, abandoned packs, batteries, and even human waste. "While the plastic ban is a noble idea, it will really come down to the responsibility of teams and of individuals to take better care of the mountain," Gleich added. "Many people forget that base camp is not a place with regular garbage removal services. It is up to each person to carry out what they carry in. I support the efforts of the governments on the Tibet and Nepal sides of Everest to continue to push efforts to clean up Everest."

Nepal's new policy follows in the footsteps of other governments around the globe. California, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Oregon, and Vermont, to name a few, have enacted legislation banning and phasing out single-use plastic bags. Other businesses and cities have banned plastic straws.

The outdoor industry also rallied around reducing its single-use plastic waste. The movement kicked off at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in June, when the Plastic Impact Alliance of 225 companies supported 170 water stations and refused to offer single-use plastic at events.

The individual efforts are part of a combined effort to address the world's plastic pollution, as researchers continues to find microplastics in our water, air, and soil.

Related

An array of water bottles--from Stanley, CambelBack, Klean Kanteen, EcoVessel, Avex, Liberty, Hydro Flask, Nalgene, Purist, and others on a beige YETI cooler

Editor’s note: Let’s reject single-use plastic at the next OR show

As I sat in the audience of the Industry Breakfast at the most recent Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, my eyes kept drifting to the side of the stage. The esteemed panelists were discussing the Outdoor Business Climate Partnership, a new collaboration between Outdoor Industry ...read more

Abaco Lodge Owner Oliver White (center) watches for Bonefish—and keeps an eye on his partner’s fishing line, to make sure it doesn’t get tangled—while his partner casts and the guide calls casting commands.

Kicking single-use plastic by the thousands

I grip the rail, jostle in my seat, and squint my eyes as the air whips my hair around. The ocean’s teal-toned abyss in front of our saltwater flat boat is eerily vacant—at least, above the water. We are west of Great Abaco, one of 700 islands in The Bahamas, in the saltwater ...read more

Plastic Impact Alliance members logos: Hydro Flask, Eco Vessell, Jetty, Ultimate Direction, Catapult, The Voice, GoLite, Costa, United By Blue, CamelBak, SNEWS, Stanley, nathan, Adidas Terrex, Klean Kanteen

Brands unite to nix single-use plastic at summer Outdoor Retailer

Truth: Single-use plastic sucks. We all know it. So let’s do something about it at our biggest convergence as an industry: Outdoor Retailer. Minimizing our impact on the planet is central to so many of our brands, yet we consume untold amounts of single-use plastic at our most ...read more

PIA_Members-crop

Update: 48 brands (and counting) unite to ditch single-use plastic at Outdoor Retailer

When baristas offer single-use cups and food vendors offer reusable utensils, most of us have begun to say, "No, thanks, I'll use my own." We do this because we understand that single-use plastic is a burden to our beloved planet.  As we count down to Outdoor Retailer Summer ...read more

YETI water fill station at outdoor retailer summer market 2019

A recap of plastic use at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market

Believe it or not, a zero-waste trade show is within our reach, especially if the industry rallies around the idea in the same way they did to ditch single-use plastic at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market last month in Denver, Colorado. Not only were single-use water bottles few and ...read more

Nepal

Nepal's Supreme Court overturns rule banning climbers with disabilities

Nepal's highest court earlier this week ordered the government to reverse a rule banning blind mountaineers and double amputees from scaling mountains, including Everest, according to reports. The Supreme Court ruling comes just months after Nepal’s government enacted several ...read more

A bin of trash in the grass

European lawmakers crack down on single-use plastic

It's almost a sin to buy a flat of plastic water bottles or accept a straw now in some places in the U.S. And now Europe has approved measures to completely ban some single-use plastic items by 2021. European lawmakers on Thursday approved plans (571-53) that could rid of ...read more

More than two-thirds of fish worldwide now test positive positive for plastic, according to the Kick Plastic campaign. Abaco Lodge, pictured here, joined the movement this year in partnership with YETI: Stainless steel water bottles help tour operators and guides eliminate plastic water bottle use while educating travelers on the impact of plastic.

Bye bye single-use plastic

It’s countdown time to Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, which stages in Denver January 29-31, 2020. Thanks to collaborative efforts of Plastic Impact Alliance members, including the show management, there was a major increase in awareness around single-use plastic at Outdoor ...read more

gearcoop-6

First retailer joins the Plastic Impact Alliance

Jennifer Anderson, online merchandising manager at Gear Coop, made a promise to herself for 2019: that she'd be more mindful of her plastic waste. She started by seeking reusable plastic shampoo and soap bottles and now she's learning to make bread to avoid the plastic bags that ...read more