In Conversation With


We interviewed Singh & Pop, the crafters working closely with students and the women of the Din Daeng slum community to create upcycled dialysis bag accessories. We find out more about their life stories and the inspirations pushing the project forward.


QA: Could you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Singh: My name is Singh. I’m an explorer who makes and fixes mistakes. As a full-time architecture professor at Kasetsart University, I founded Scraplab, a waste research & design center run by Kasetsart University's academic staff and students. I have a passion for sustainable materials and design.

Pop: My name is Pop. I joined the project 11 years ago and am originally from Nonthaburi, Thailand. I'm a lazy person who likes to optimize time by finding the quickest way to finalize a job.



QA: Can you tell us more about your project?

Singh: At scraplab, we explore non-toxic waste and develop commercial products to be sold to the public while providing additional income for students, patients & retired women from Din Daeng slum community. During one semester, we explored hospital "fabulous" waste, including kidney dialysis bags. There are about 1 million bags being thrown each month in Thailand. Following hospital safety guidelines, at-home patients would sell us the cleaned dialysis bags before being sent to the trained elders in the community. The trained elder women would then prepare and craft them according to a specific design, providing additional income for both patients and elders.

QA: What challenges do you face in using recycled dialysis bags? 

Singh: Handling the material requires specific know-how as it is stickier than cowhide and needs to be laminated. Also, we are trying to expand our team and find more interested communities.

'Seeing people use our crafts gives me the energy to push the project further and explore other materials. I'm grateful that buyers believe in us and our innovative approach.'




QA: How do you design each craft?

Pop: I’m not a good drawer so I always start the design with a prototype, and we reverse-engineer the process to figure out the patterns and the amount of dialysis bags required to craft the accessory.



QA: What challenges did you face working with the community?

Singh: Building trust with the elders took quite some time, a few months actually, and unpredictable working schedules within the community required us to be flexible.

Furthermore, attending traditional and cultural services such as priesthood, weddings, and funerals is very important leading to unpredictable working schedules within the community. Thus, we have to be flexible and ensure that the project runs smoothly to provide quick payment and return to the crafters.

Pop: The elders manage themselves and work at their own pace, so we aren't always able to regulate the design pattern.


QA: How do you feel when people use your crafts and what would you like to say to them? 

Singh: Seeing people use our crafts gives me the energy to push the project further and explore other materials. I'm grateful that buyers believe in us and our innovative approach.

Pop: I’m proud that I have enough skills and talent to create something that people can use and like. As the crafter of the work, I see every detail of every piece and get sometimes surprised that people would buy what I consider as imperfect. Sometimes I try to sell my definition of a "perfect" product but I realize that the buyers don’t always like it.

Read The Women of Din Daeng Community's Stories

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