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Thailand is turning plastic waste into personal protective equipment

Millions of discarded plastic bottles in Thailand have found a new purpose amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a factory near Bangkok, plastic bottles are being shredded and turned into thread, which is woven into fabric that is treated to become waterproof. That fabric is then used to create personal protective equipment (PPE) for people working at hospitals and monks who are cremating COVID-19 victims. "What was trash is now valuable," Phra Maha Pranom Dhammalangkaro, abbott of the Chakdaeng temple, told Reuters.

It can sometimes be hard to find traditional PPE in Thailand, and while these upcycled suits are not medical grade, they offer some protection while helping the environment. It takes about 18 plastic bottles to make one suit, which can be washed up to 20 times.