Prosthetics That Don't Cost an Arm and a Leg
An innovative recycling effort in Thailand is converting used plastic bottles and aluminum cans into prosthetic limbs for people who have been maimed by land mines. The program was launched by the Prosthesis Foundation of Thailand, which has a mission of providing free artificial limbs to every poor land mine victim in the nation. When donations to the foundation started declining, they turned to discarded drink containers as cheap sources of materials for prosthetic devices. A Thai company that sells coffee in cans decided to help the foundation by setting up a campaign in 1998 that urges Thais to drop cans in special recycling boxes at department stores, universities, and other spots. Within a year, the foundation had collected 4,180 pounds of fused aluminum, enough to make 4,500 artificial limbs.