Plastic rubbish in and around Leh is a real problem. Plastic lasts for centuries, doesn’t rot and is inedible. Burning it at best smells bad and adds to the green house effect, at worst is lethal. In short plastic cannot be easily disposed of. Plastic waste requires special disposal facilities which Leh does not have. Most plastic trash ends up dumped in the mountains despoiling this beautiful and fragile environment. Every bit of plastic rubbish you create becomes part of that problem.
If you don’t want to leave a pile of everlasting trash behind you, here are some ways to reduce your rubbish
Water – don’t buy water in plastic bottles get your bottle refilled. Boiled, filtered water refills can be got from the Woman’s Alliance, Ladakh Ecological Development Group LEDeG, Dzomsa and some other places. You can pick up a map from LEDeG showing all of them or download it here.
Dzomsa. This shop refills your water bottle with boiled filtered water there by cutting out the plastic nasties. And if ever a place was cursed with plastic rubbish its Leh.
They have shops on Old Fort Road and Main Street and maybe one more (though they are not all open out of season). Refills cost 7 rupees so its a bargain.They also do dried apricots in paper bags.Image by Ajay Tallam
Biscuits – don’t buy bickies in plastic wrappers, the bakery on Main Bazaar Road sells a wide variety sweet and savory loose and they use paper bags.
Hair conditioner – try this vinegar rinse. Organic apple vinegar can be bought from Dzomsa. It comes in a glass bottle BUT it does have a plastic lid. Maybe you could ask about returning the bottles and lids to be reused? Let me know how you get on.
Toothpaste – those damn tubes get everywhere so you could try salt – can be bought in a paper bag from Dzomsa ( though it is reinforced with plastic sellotape). Or you could bring your own home made tooth powder.
Landry soap – unwrapped from Dzomsa – can according to the blurb be used to wash people as well. I am pretty sure you cold find this in the market if you looked.
Shampoo – using solid soap to wash your hair works and this handmade soap from the Organic Store comes plastic free.
Loo roll – it’s hard to find toilet paper that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic but Dzomsasell paper wrapped rolls.
You can down load an eco map of Leh showing the above locations here. It is part of Leh eco guide which you might find useful. It lists such things as green hotels and discusses the environmental issues facing Leh.