The Clean Upper Dharamsala Project (CUD project) was established in June 1994 when the local Tibetan Settlement Office initiated an innovative environmental programme to provide Upper Dharamsala with an efficient and environmentally friendly waste management system of rubbish collection and recycling.
Tibet Relief Fund has supported this initiative for a number of years now through the sales of products from the Handmade Paper Recycling Workshop.
The Handmade Paper Recycling Workshop
The waste paper, cardboard and cotton collected by ‘green workers’ is used to create 100% handmade recycled paper. Here all kinds of paper styles, colours and designs are made into a range of products from letter writing sets, books and notepads to photo albums, greeting cards and lampshades. The CUD project not only acts as a ‘role model’ centre for other villages and projects but also actively promotes sustainable economic, social and ecological development. The project also raises environmental awareness on the importance of recycling by educating and actively disseminating knowledge and skills to other Tibetan settlements, communities, schools and colleges.
The Green Shop
Products created at the recycling workshop are not only sold via Tibet Relief Fund, they are also sold at the CUD small Green Shop which provides jobs for a further ten employees. The proceeds generated from product sales provide a salary for the workers and help sustain the project as a whole.
The Green Shop also provides the public with refills of boiled and filtered water, offering a safe healthy alternative to local water as well as providing a desperately needed solution to the alarming ‘mountains’ of plastic mineral water bottles discarded by tourists.
Another initiative run by The Green Shop provides environmentally friendly and locally produced alternatives to chemical-based goods by selling chemical-free, herbal and Tibetan toiletries and teas, and locally made peanut butter and jam – even using recycled paper shopping bags to reduce plastic bag consumption!