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PPE transformed into mattresses for homeless people and COVID-19 patients

The idea of fashion designer Lakshmi Menon, from the Indian state of Kerala, combines sustainability with usefulness and innovation

When the pandemic forced the Indian state of Kerala to rethink the supply of mattresses in hospitals, fashion designer Lakshmi Menon had an exceptional idea.
According to the Guardian, when Menon found out that every mattress used by a Covid patient was thrown away and incinerated, she thought about a possible solution that could avoid burning and wasting so much material. 


The solution would be the following: to reuse the waste scraps from factories that make PPE and to transform them into soft, comfortable, and washable mattresses that can be used, among other things, in hospitals, in particular in Covid centres.
The fashion designer wanted to create these shayya, mattresses in Sanskrit, for both Coronavirus patients and homeless people.


Every produced mattress would be sold at only 300 rupees, the equivalent of 3 dollars, way less than mattresses usually for sale.
PPE’s waste scrapes from factories can be of various dimensions and can therefore be braided in a versatile way, using also the smallest scrapes. 
Lakshmi Menon developed this idea in February 2020. Since then, mountains of PPE have been transformed into mattresses for homeless families or for Covid centres in Kerala instead of being abandoned or burnt. 


The increase in cases and the following growing demand for mattresses from hospitals has allowed Menon to recycle huge amounts of PPE.
According to the Guardian, the fashion designer has simultaneously worked together with ONGs that provide aid to homeless people, who represent a high percentage of the Indian population: in India, indeed, 1.7 million people sleep on the streets on a daily basis, often on thin mattresses.
The production of these very useful and sustainable objects has also allowed several female workers to find employment.

Indian manufacturing has apparently increased its production and professional occupation following the growing demand of mattresses from factories.
This project has received recognition internationally: the United Nations defined Lakshmi Menon’s idea as one of the most innovative and easily reproducible as well as one of the best projects developed during the pandemic.

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