It”s hard to hate recycling. Sure, it means another bin or two in your home, but it also means fewer landfills in the world. After all, glass, paper, and plastic are all made from finite materials, so recycling lets us use a lot less of the world”s non-renewable resources. You probably even have quite a few items made from recycled materials in your home right now.
But what would an entire building made from recycled materials look like? (No, we”re not talking about a church made from repurposed skulls.) Instead of using recycled bottles to make other bottles, a temple in Thailand used them for an even greater purpose: the actual temple itself!
This is the beautiful Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew, better known as the Million Bottle Temple.
From far away, this Buddhist temple looks like a beautiful jade structure on a serene lake. It rests near the Cambodian border in the Sisaket province of Thailand, and has served the community of Khun Han since ground was broken in 1984.
The temple gets its nickname from the fact that it”s actually made from nearly 1.5 million bottles.
In the eighties, a local monk and his followers noticed a mounting litter problem in the area. With the idea of promoting a healthier, litter-free community, the group started the Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew. The locals brought monks recyclable bottles, which were used to build every part of the temple.
Everything inside and outside the temple is made using recycled beer bottles.
This railing, for instance, is made from Heineken and Chang bottles.
The place is littered with bottles (in the non-polluting sort of way).
The temple also features religious decorations and dioramas made from bottle caps, further stretching the monks” given materials.
The Million Bottle Temple expanded over the years to include sleeping quarters, working bathrooms, and a crematorium.
Nothing says “recycling” like a crematorium made out of recycled materials.
(via Slate, Atlas Obscura, Daily Mail)
The temple is still under construction, as bottles are continuously added in the hopes of building even more parts of the temple. One has to wonder, however, how this temple gets rid of their other recyclable materials. Between all those beer bottles and cap sculptures, there has to be a “paper only” basket somewhere.