Keeping the faith: Buddhist amulets made from recycled plastics

Two companies in Thailand have teamed up to include religious beliefs as another way of raising environmental awareness. They are making much sought-after Buddhist amulets from nine types of recycled materials, including plastics and nylon fishing nets.

“The idea of the plastic amulet is a result of finding a connection between the environment and Thai culture,” said Krit Phutpim of Dots Design Studio, one of the two companies that launched its amulets during Bangkok Design Week.

Many Thai Buddhist wear amulets on their chests that hang from a string around their neck. They are often images of the Buddha or renowned Buddhist monks. Made from various materials including bone, wood, metal and precious stones, they are often created at temples and given out to temple goers by monks. Monks bless the amulets and they are believed to bring good fortune or protect them from harms.

Amulets from revered monks or that happen to be old or rare are sought after by collectors who are willing to pay large sums for them.

Monks have also blessed the new and innovative amulets made from recycled plastics and other materials. The companies are selling them at the very affordable price of about $3.

Teerachai Suppameteekulwat, the founder of Qualy Design, the other company making the new amulets, said that they have the Thai word for “awareness” on the back to remind people to be conscious that their daily consumption should not harm the environment.

Plastic pollution is a serious problem around the world. More and more Thais have been aware of the plastic pollution and the country’s role in it over the years.

The government, consumers and companies have also become increasingly eco-conscious and have been making sustainability and the circular economy higher priorities in business and life.

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