Recycling in Turkey | Living in Turkey the Green Way

Being Green In Turkey

Recycling in Turkey

Recycling in Turkey

I was inspired the other day by an interesting post on a forum about the last generation and how they are responsible for the world we live in today, although they hadn’t heard of ‘The Green Thing’ they were just more resource and less wasteful than the throwaway society we live in today.

The post inspired me to be more resourceful and recycle what I can in our home. For one it will help reduce my so-called carbon footprint and will also help us to save a few pennies which is always welcome. This then prompted me to ask on the same forum how can you be more green in Turkey.

A couple of the replies surprised me, they said that the Turk’s were wasteful and didn’t know what recycling or being green meant nor do they want to understand this. It made me think a little.

The reason that most of them don’t think green is they do not need to think green. They do not live in the same throwaway society as we do in the UK where we are continuously trying to keep up-to-date with the latest trends. It’s not only a problem with over-consuming but also one of not enough recycling and you can read more here about why it is important to recycle your old furniture as an example. This is a huge contrast to the way in which the people of Turkey think green. As money is tight, they make use of everything and they are careful with what they own and careful with what they consume.

You will be lucky to find pre-packed foods in Turkey with only a tiny section in the supermarkets for frozen products. All food is made from scratch and none is wasted they don’t throughout the leftovers from meals out, but keep them for the next meal. They are careful about what power and water they use because the cost is high and the less they use the cheaper the bill.

The local Pazar is where most households get their fresh vegetables and fruit, which are seasonal and locally grown or brought in from around Turkey. No one tells them to eat seasonally and buy local or shop at the farmers market to reduce their carbon footprint it’s just part of life and a way of keeping down costs.

What is thrown away in the bins is minimal and what can be salvaged is taken by the Eskici, the rag and bone man, who collects plastic and paper products. They then take the scrap and the waste plastic and paper to collection points and are paid for what they bring. This waste is then taken and recycled, but it’s not seen as recycling but as a job and a way of life here.

Most of the gardens you will see are used for growing fruit and vegetables for the home and if you look up onto balconies you will often plant pots with vegetables growing in them. No one tells the Turk’s they need to start growing their own food or be urban gardeners it’s just part of life a way to reduce costs for the home and feed the family.

Solar Power is also another way of life not for power but for heating water, and why would it not be with the amount of sunlight hours available for use. The solar panels quickly recover the cost of the install for the saving’s in electricity so it might be a good idea to Get Solar Now! Solar panels are the new way of making electric – goodbye fossil fuels! They also make use of Thermal Heat from the ground which in some towns like Dikili is used to heat most of the homes and provide hot water. Reducing costs for the people living in these areas but they don’t see it as green.

Of course there are still plenty things that can be done in Turkey with recycling and energy saving but slowly the country is become more aware.

Changing my western ways is how I can be more green and help reduce our costs. I now make use of the recycle bins at the bottom of my street which helps the local ambulances and the waste is taken off to recycling plants in Istanbul. I will also look for better cleaning products for the home which are more environmentally friendly but also more friendly to us with less chemicals and I will try to be less wasteful and be more resourceful in the kitchen and home.

But if you ask if Turkish people are green the answer is no they are not, they are resourceful and less wasteful than those of us from the western world. Maybe we should learn from them and stop being a throw away generation.

© 2011 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to “Recycling in Turkey | Living in Turkey the Green Way”

  1. 16th May 2013

    andrea Reply

    My in-laws go through tons of tissue, paper towels, and toilet paper. Why not use a regular rag?! They throw away plastic bottles and cans. They do not compost. They are constantly running the water in the sink to clean imaginary germs. They don’t use energy efficient microwaves to boil water or reheat things. Litter was abundant in the neighborhood and smog was ever present during the winter from coal-burning plants. Hardly green to me.

    • 19th May 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Andrea I think it all comes down to personal experience. When it comes to throwing things out you mustn’t forget the Eskicis (scrap men) who will collect most of the plastic and cans from the rubbish. And at least paper towels and tissue are biodegradable unlike some of these new clothes that are made and once finished with end up in the bin just the same and if it wasn’t for the constant need of paper, no new trees would be planted………………………….. As for coal burning, most sobas are run on wood and not coal here in Turkey and sobas or wood burns are become ever more popular in the UK and Europe through soaring cost of gas and electricity which are just a problematic when it comes to sustainability and wood is more sustainable over the longer term though there is arguments on either side regards air quality and pollution here is a good article for more on them

  2. 12th April 2017

    Cem Nicholas Kretschmer Reply

    I love your Ideas they are very meaningful. I live in Turkey and there are many people carrying big bags of plastic and paper. I agree with your ideas and they are true. İyi Akşamlar!!

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