PET to PPE
The COVID19 crisis caused a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and a dramatic increase of plastic waste. Therefore, Less plastic Thailand formed a team to tackle both problems at the same time by converting polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles into reusable PPE Suits. These suits can be rewashed up to 20 times, which help reduce infectious waste and equipment cost. More than 30,000 PPE suits were provided to 200 hospitals across the country and over 100,000 kgs of PET bottles were returned to the recycling system.
At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Less Plastic Thailand and our network alliances brainstormed and initiated 3 COVID-19 projects:
1) ROBOCovid : Raised funds for Chulalongkorn university to develop a remote assistance robot to take care of the patients (300K USD).
2) Ventilated Pneumask: Improve Pneumask by adding ventilated system.
3) PET to PPE Project : Turn plastic PET bottle into PPE suit, which has been the most successful in social engagement nationwide.
There are 2 types of PPE (disposable and reusable) and 4 levels of PPE risk classifications. This project aims to create reusable, level 2 PPEs, which are for moderate risk tasks and can also be used for general purposes according to the ANSI/AAMI PB70 standard. Only factories that have passed the Government Pharmaceutical Organization's (GPO) qualification produce make this.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) can be recycled and converted into medical grade polyester yarn. At a textile factory, the yarn is turned into a water repellent fabric. Then, a medical garment factory uses the fabric to create PPE suits.
18 PET bottles (600 ml) can be turned into 1 PPE Suit. This costs around 13-17 USD.
It is washable up to 20 times (do NOT use fabric softener) and can be downgraded into a normal outfit afterwards. This product is suitable for hospitals and organizations with washing machines and autoclaves.