Disruptors for GOOD: Buddhist Monks Turn Plastic Bottles into “Nano Robes”
Every piece of plastic ever made has been reported to still exist to this very day. To make matters even worse, shocking amounts of plastic waste continue to pollute the world’s oceans – to be exact, an astonishing figure around eight million metric tonnes. At this rate, it has been estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic waste than fish in the sea! #whoa
Thankfully, the abbot of Wat Chak Daeng temple in Thailand’s Samut Prakan province has come up with the idea of using recycled plastic to make iconic orange “nano robes”. Believe it or not, the future of fashion is going totally green and innovative!
DID YOU KNOW? Thailand is the fifth highest contributor of plastic waste polluting the world’s oceans, according to a report by the US-based group Ocean Conservancy.
Creating the Iconic Orange Robe from Recycled Plastic
One of the goals of Buddhist teachings is helping to relieve suffering in the world by guiding followers on their journey from birth to death. At the Wat Chak Daeng Temple in Samut Prakan, it is not only food, money, and clothing that pilgrims donate to this spiritual cause. They also bring in plastic waste. Being predominantly a Buddhist country, and according to Phra Maha Pranom Dhammalangkaro, the temple is doing its part to fight the global environmental crisis, in line with Buddhist teachings.
Abbot Maha Pranom Dhammalangkaro has successfully produced what he calls a “nano-robe”, made from a mixture of recycled plastic, cotton and zinc oxide nano-particles. The robe is the result of his lifelong pursuit of hygienic perfection. He has always disliked the sight of dirty plastic and eager to find ways of producing something useful out of such waste. To learn more about recycling, Maha Pranom went on study tours overseas and spent three years experimenting before creating his final masterpiece.
In fact, Maha Pranom recently created a working formula for mixing recycled plastic with cotton and zinc oxide nano-particles to make a fine, high quality fabric. Perhaps understandably, the first items of clothing he produced were the iconic saffron coloured monks’ robes. Initially, one issue he faced was to cool down the plastic which was resolved by mixing the plastic waste with cotton fibers and zinc oxide nano-particles, transforming it into a nano-fabric. So, this is not just a recycled robe, it is a “nano-robe”, using high quality recycled plastic instead of the low quality type. #interesting
Each robe is made from 15 plastic bottles, even the belt of the robe is made from plastic, too! The texture of nano-fabric is not as hard as plastic. Instead, it feels as soft as a premium quality cotton. One plastic bottle can be used to create a metre of nano-fabric.
Even more impressive is the fact that the temple also runs a campaign for people to make merit by offering nano-fabric robes to monks. Buddhists can now order how much fabric they want to buy for making the merit. At present, a large quantity of plastic bottles is pouring into the temple for nano-fabric production, but it is not enough to meet the demand, from temple-goers and merit makers, for such “nano-robes”.
To date, the temple has produced at least 800 sets of robes, with more to come!
Each set costs between 2,000 baht (RM265) and 5,000 baht (RM663), mainly used for funding the project and paying waste-sorting volunteers, many of whom are local housewives, retirees and disabled persons.
Watch the inspiring video clip below: