CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Leftover takeout containers are now being used to make personal protective equipment for health care workers battling COVID-19 on the frontlines.

Envision Charlotte has been collecting the used containers from sites across the city, and on Thursday, volunteers and workers started breaking down the plastic to create filament for 3D printers.

The printers then turn the former food containers into face shields and other PPE supplies.

“In times like this people need to be innovative and creative, and there are solutions and there are different ways to look at things,” says Amy Aussieker, Executive Director of Envision Charlotte. “If you ever would have said to someone before, in a year you could take your takeout containers and you can turn it into PPE for frontline workers, who would have thought? And now we’re making it a reality.”

The initiative is also part of Envision Charlotte’s mission to divert waste from the landfills and repurpose it for the community.

"It’s not hard, it’s really simple, and if you think about it, everyone wants to do something about climate change.  This is one of those things that you can have a direct impact on, keeping things out of the landfill, understanding what can be recycled and can’t be recycled, and putting them into cool programs like this," Aussieker says.

Containers are being accepted at drop-off sites throughout Charlotte. A list of locations can be found here.

All donations should be washed and free of stickers and labels.

Local PPE producers can also apply for free filament from Envision Charlotte by visiting their website.