Thailand Is Making COVID-19 Protective Gear Using Upcycled Plastic Bottles

With plenty of plastic waste and insufficient protective gear from COVID-19, Thailand is now using the trash to transform it into protective clothing for at-risk people.

They’re using mostly upcycled bottles. Millions of these bottles have been shredded and turned into threads that are weaved into fabrics and eventually used for PPE.

They’re later send off to hospitals or Buddhist temples where the monks have been cremating the victims of the pandemic.

Thailand’s Story of Trash to Treasure

This decision comes after Thailand had than 1.1 million cases of coronavirus infections and 12,000 deaths as of April 2021.

According to Phra Maha Pranom Dhammalangkaro, abbot of Chakdaeng temple in the Samut Prakan province near Bangkok, there were times when finding PPE suits was hard, sometimes, even with the money, you couldn’t find one to buy.

But the situation is different and better now. They’re using upcycled bottles to make these suits and trash is available. The volunteers from the temple have been sewing these orange suits for undertakers, monks, and scavengers.

The suits are also sent to thousands of other temples in need countrywide.

Although they’re not medical-grade suits, they’re providing at least some protection for the people with potential exposure to the virus. One PPE suit requires 18 plastic bottles.

The Fabric for the PPEs Is a Donation from a Textile Factory

One textile factory in Rayong province is donating the fabric for the PPEs. They usually make fabrics that are used by some major global brands. They make the threads from the recycled bottles and spun them into big rolls and weave them into the fabric which is treated to be water-resistant.

According to the head of sales and marketing at the textile firm Thai Thaffeta, Arnuphap Chompuming, this treatment is necessary to avert the particle dust from seeping through and the virus entering the body.

Since the middle of last year, around 18 million plastic bottles have been transformed into PPE fabric and helped increase the protection of people working in hospitals and other areas in the country.

The Chakdaeng temple abbot noted that the upcycling project has increased the protection from the virus not just of medical professionals, but of other people too. He added that they’re saving lives and keeping the environment clean.

What an awesome idea, don’t you agree?! Do you think that your country could also try the same project and repurpose it wisely?