Thai plastic amulets

Thai plastic amulets

Hoping to inspire more Thais to recycle plastic waste, two local companies have teamed up to make Buddhist amulets by using nine types of recyclable materials ranging from plastic bottles to nylon fishing nets.

Predominantly Buddhist Thailand is estimated to be the fifth-biggest contributor of plastic to the world’s oceans, according to a report by the US-based group Ocean Conservancy.

“The idea of the plastic amulet is a result of finding a connection between the environment and Thai culture,” said Krit Phutpim, a director at Dots Design Studio, one of the companies behind the project launched at Bangkok‘s design week exhibition.

Thai amulets with Buddhist imagery are extremely popular in the Southeast Asian country and many hope they will enhance their spirituality and bring them good fortune.

The Buddha amulet launched this week has the Thai word for “awareness” on the back to remind people to be conscious that their daily consumption should not harm the environment, said Teerachai Suppameteekulwat, the founder of the other company behind the project Qualy Design.

The amulets, which have been blessed by monks, are distributed in exchange for at least 1 kg of plastic or a minimum of 100 baht (S$4.16) for each amulet with the money going to various charities.

The project has generated some controversy on social media, with questions about whether an amulet should be made from recycled materials.

Typically, amulets are made from materials such as bone, wood or metal. They may contain, for example, the ash from incense burnt at a temple or hair from a monk that is thought to further increase the wearer’s powers.

For one exhibition goer, the idea of giving recycled material a new use attracted her to the amulet.

“I brought in 1.8 kilogrammes of plastic bottles. I want to give it a new life,” said 33-year-old exhibition goer, Paramapon Suthichavengkul.

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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more than fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on

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