GREEN TRAILS by INDIA HIKES: Holistic waste management solutions for waste from treks and surrounding villages

Project Status: 2013-Ongoing
Location: Bangalore, India
Contact: Lakshmi Selvakumaran

Green Trails works to develop and implement holistic waste management solutions for waste from treks and surrounding villages through different initiatives.

Most of the villages where local treks run through are remote with little access to any infrastructure to handle waste. With increasing commercialization and popularity of trekking, in-house waste management solutions are a dire need.

Green Trails has been working with different stakeholders in the trekking ecosystem to handle organic and inorganic waste at a large scale. Their main efforts are directed towards developing systematic ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and upcycle so that very little waste has to be diverted to the landfill.


The various projects that are part of the Green Trails Initiative:

1) Ecobags – An eco bag that goes around every trekkers’ waist is provided to each trekker to collect inorganic waste from the trek. Through this initiative over 500kg of waste is brought down the mountains from each trek that we do every month. This along with the waste collected from the local villages are segregated. After utilizing waste for upcycling and recycling, the rest of the waste is diverted to landfill.

2) Human waste – Composting cocopeat toilets are used at every campsite to manage human waste effectively.

3) Dhabas – Green Trails collects waste from every dhaba on the trek. They also work with them on creating awareness on sustainable waste management practices.

4) Rainwater harvesting – During monsoon season, Green Trails utilizes water collected from makeshift rainwater harvesting systems to collect water for our trekking needs.

5) Upcycling – Green Trails conducts workshops with local women to create upcycled products out of waste. Ecopillows and bottle bricks have been used as means to divert much waste from landfill. Ecopillows are sold as souvenirs to trekkers. The revenue is an added supplement to the local women who participate in these initiatives. Bottle bricks have been used extensively to create infrastructure for the local villages.

6) Education – Green Trails Fellows teach modules on waste management and environment to school children from local villages. These children have been provided the know-how on reducing waste from source and managing waste within home.

7) Ecofemme – Green Trails have partnered with Ecofemme to provide sustainable menstrual solutions for local women as a means to reduce waste at source.

8) Clean-ups and awareness campaigns – Green Trails works with local homes to devise zero waste solutions for each home at every village.

All of these initiatives have benefited the local communities that Green Trails works with tremendously.


Green Trails collaborates with Local panchayats for community outreach programs. They have collaborated with the Divisional Forest Officer of Sandakphu for waste management initiatives on Sandakphu trek. Green Trails works with local municipalities to use landfills at the nearest municipalities to bring down waste from treks.


General regulations for any trekking agency in India calls for maintaining a strict no litter policy on the trek. However, Green Trails has gone beyond the minimum requirements and work hard to leave the mountains in a better condition than we found. Green Trails has been working hard to push for viable waste management solutions for not just our treks but for the entire trekking fraternity and the villages surrounding the treks.


Green Trails trek leaders lead the Green Trails project with trekkers as part of their work profile. Our staff are trained to follow our Green Trails policy on the trek strictly.

Green Trails community outreach programs are taken forward on the field by fellows and interns. The entire Green trails project is managed by Lakshmi Selvakumaran remotely by Lakshmi.  The Green trails project is funded solely by Indiahikes currently.


The Green Trail community outreach projects are mainly driven by interns and Fellows on the field. Green Trails is always open to interested volunteers looking to contribute in making the treks clean.


Green Trails uses its website, the Indiahikes Facebook and Instagram accounts to disseminate its work to the general public.

The exposure through UIAA will help Green Trails connect with like-minded people working on similar projects at different locations with different solutions.