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In Thailand, millions of plastic bottles have been converted into a fabric thread to make PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

In Thailand, since April 2021, there have been over 12,000 deaths from Covid-19 and 11 million recorded infections. This has led to an acute shortage of PPE in hospitals and in Buddhist temples, where monks cremate victims. Even with adequate funding for PPE, it's difficult to source more supplies.

However, a new upcycling process has been created to tackle the PPE shortage. Threads made from discarded plastic bottles are being used to make plastic fabric. The fabric is treated so it is water resistant and so dust containing the virus is prevented from seeping through the material.

Thousands of volunteers have been making protective suits using this fabric. The suits have hoods and are worn with face masks. The suits are not medical grade, but they do provide some protection against Covid-19.

It's been estimated that 18 plastic bottles can make one suit. Over 18 million bottles have been used since the middle of 2020 to make these protective suits, which are worn by monks and hospital workers.

According to ABC News, the abbott of the chakdaeng temple, Phra Maha Pranom Dhammalangkaro, said that the upcycling project was protecting more people from the virus. He said:

"We're saving lives and the environments as well."

Waste plastic bottles are an environmental problem here in the United Kingdom. Most local authorities collect waste plastic, which is recycled to create a number of products, including building materials, paint pots, bags and car components. There are also schemes to recycle waste PPE that would be otherwise dumped into landfills.

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