Buddhist temple makes PPE suits from recycled plastic
A Thai Buddhist temple makes PPE suits from recycled plastic bottles.
The Wat Chak Daeng Temple collects used plastic drinks bottles to upcycle them into personal protective equipment to use during services in Samut Prakan province.
With cases surging in recent months, the temple could not find enough PPE suits for monks, undertakers, and garbage collectors so they thought of the idea.
Footage shows workers sewing processed plastic from the trash the temple has collected to turn into full-body suits on September 17.
Monk Khun Phra Methewachirasopon said: ‘The project started when we noticed there was an insufficient supply of PPE suits for undertakers and monks who were always in contact with Covid-19 patients.
‘We made a public announcement about the project as we believed more people involved in the project can make it even more successful.’
The monk aid that his team of monks and volunteers collect bottles from the nearby river. They also receive around 110lbs to 220lbs of bottles from residents to recycle.
The process involves collecting the bottles and separating the caps and labels. They are then washed and crushed into a block before taken to a different factory where they are sliced into small grains and mixed with other components before being stretched into thread. The thread is dyed and delivered back to the temple where it is woven into sheets to make the orange robes.
The PPE suits created in the temple are 34 per cent plastic, 43 per cent silk, and another 23 per cent polyester. They are used by monks while the surplus suits are donated to nearby businesses.
At the time, Thailand was already heavily infected with more than 1.1 million cases and more than 12,000 deaths from April to August 2021.
The temple started to collect bottles and also accepted garbage donations to a partner textile and clothing factory located in Rayong province to have them processed into plastic threads.
The threads were then weaved into PPE suits fabric that is waterproof and tear-resistant using only 20 bottles on each gear.
They have created 3,000 recycled suits so far and their current target is to make 10,000 pieces with the current material and volunteers they have.