Phra Mahapranom Dhammalangkaro, the acting head abbot of Chak Daeng Temple near Bangkok, has been making monastic robes out of plastic waste for his fellow monks since 2005. The idea emerged after he visited the Tzu Chi Foundation in Taiwan, where he observed the successful recycling of plastic into various products.

Phra Mahapranom Dhammalangaro, Abbot of Chak Deang Temple stands inside the recycling centre of the temple. (Source:

Phra Mahapranom Dhammalangkaro’s mission is to convert the polluted city’s waste plastic into robes for his fellow monks, building upon a 2,600-year tradition started by Buddha, who encouraged ordained monks to fashion their robes out of cloth from scrap heaps and graveyards.

Dhammalangkaro processes 10 tonnes of plastic waste monthly.

He and other monks in the monastery sift through all the plastic waste they receive from neighboring areas, which is then compressed into bales and shipped to a factory where it is converted into fiber and eventually woven into monastic robes. The fabric is easy to wash, doesn’t smell or crease, and is light on the skin.

the monks arranging the emptied plastic bottles. (Source:

This initiative is not only environmentally friendly but also provides employment opportunities for over 30 local villagers, including some who are differently-abled. Most importantly, it is keeping some plastic from being thrown in the Chao Phraya River, one of the most polluted water sources in Thailand.

A volunteer is emptying the plastic, delivering the bale to the factory. (Source:

Beyond monastic robes, this eco-conscious endeavor has expanded its product range. Recycled plastic is now utilized to create various items, showcasing the versatility of sustainable materials. From meditation cushions to ceremonial accessories, each product embodies the monk’s vision of harmonizing tradition with ecological responsibility.

A volunteer is folding the robe. (Source:

Despite the innovative nature of these products, their prices remain reasonable.

The robes, priced between 2,000 baht ($85.36) and 5,000 baht ($213.41) (Source:

The monk’s commitment to accessibility ensures that the benefits of his environmental initiative can be shared widely. The affordability of these eco-friendly items not only fund the project and support waste-sorting volunteers such as local housewives, retirees, and differently-abled persons. but also sends a positive message about the inclusivity of sustainable living.

This is a great example of how we can all make a difference in our own way. By taking small steps, we can contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable future.