Creative Around The World

Sustainable Monastery Robes – Song Khanong, Thailand

To introduce: Wat Chat Daeng recycle project. Image in AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha.

“I’m practising the Buddha’s teachings, which also align with solving the global environmental crisis,” says Pra Maha Pranom Dhammalangkaro, the abbot (head monk) of Wat Chak Daeng temple in the south of Bangkok.

Pra Maha Pranom Dhammalangkaro has successfully produced their monastic robes made of recycled plastic after three years of study in Tzu Chi Foundation in Taiwan and trials.

Now for almost three years already, the monks in the temple has been aiming to curb plastic waste entering the Chao Phraya River, which flows south to the Gulf of Thailand in the western Pacific Ocean.

“One issue about doing this is how to cool down the plastic. We mixed it with cotton fibers and zinc oxide nanoparticles and transformed it into a nanofabric. So, this is not just a recycled robe, it is a ‘nano-robe’, using high quality recycled plastic instead of the low quality type,” he explained.


As reported in Great Big Stories, after tons of plastics collected in the temple, the monks and volunteers put them into pressing machine turned into bales then shipped into the factories. There all the plastic bales are crushed and processed into fibres. After that, the monks and volunteers weave them into monastic robes.

After the use of the monastic robes, they use the robes as bedsheets. Then as napkins to clean the tables and chairs before mixed them with clay to plaster the monks’ living quarters.

To introduce: Wat Chat Daeng recycle project. Image in AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha.. To introduce: Wat Chat Daeng recycle project. Image in AFP.

During the peak of the virus Covid19 pandemic in Thailand, a group of innovative monks near Bangkok are turning to their Buddhist faith in a bid to help contain the disease.

So, the Abbot Pranom Dhammalangkaro started the production of face masks with extra filter layer sewn on the inner lining to shield users from potential spray droplets.

According to Straits Time, until February 2020, the temple has produced at least 800 sets of robes, with more in production stages. “If you don’t collect these plastics, where do they end up? In the stomachs of dugongs, dolphins, whales, and many other sea animals. Then they die,” said Phra Maha Pranom Dhammalangkaro.


For more information about Wat Chak Daeng: Website – Facebook Wat Chak Daeng – YouTube Wat Chak Daeng.

Source: Samut Prakan monk makes ‘nano-robes’ from recycled plastic bottles — Thai monks make virus masks from recycled plastic Pitcha Dangprasith and Lillian Suwanrumpha Agence France-Presse — Thai Buddhist temple recycles plastics into robes for monks. — How A Buddhist Monk Is Turning Plastic Into Robes.