Venerable Thipakorn, one of the monks promoting this initiative as a way of being more responsible toward the environment, observed: “There is not a big difference between the robes . . . I myself wear a recycled plastic robe and they are very similar to the traditional ones.”
The project is an example of the sustainable application of modern technology by converting plastic bottles into wearable fabrics. First of all, discarded plastic bottles are collected in the temple compound. After compressing them they are packed into bales and sent to a processing plant, where the plastic is chipped and melted into fabrics, which are returned to temple. Volunteers in the temple fashion the recycled fabrics into robes for the monks. “Until now, we have made some 200 robes,” said Ven. Thipakorn
A local community association, which receives financial support from large companies and patronage from Thailand’s Royal Palace, is overseeing the initiative. This year, they have made seven full sets of monastic robes.
According to media reports, it takes about 30 plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) one-and-a-half liter bottles to produce a set of robes, each of which is composed of 30–35 per cent recycled plastic, combined with cotton and other materials.
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