It is easy to simply throw useless things into the garbage; however, the trash we throw away may often items that can be used in many other ways if recycled.
As a part of the Zero Waste Project initiated earlier this year, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) City Theaters have been turning old stage props into houses for stray animals.
The cat houses, which have already been placed in various parks around the city, aim to provide protection for strays in the cold winter months. Once the cat houses are finished, the rest of the former stage props will be recycled into dog houses and bird nests.
From stage props to houses for strays
There are a total of 11 City Theater stages around Istanbul. For decades, the props and costumes of the theater company have been produced at the workshops in the Harbiye neighborhood.
In the Harbiye compound where the Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theater is also located, there are 11 workshops working day and night to put together the necessary decor for the plays that attract thousands of theater lovers every season.
However, once a play is no longer being staged by the theater company, the old props are set aside or thrown out and new ones are produced. However, since the launch of the Zero Waste Project, the old props are being reused in different areas through municipal initiatives.
For the last month, however, the workshops have been occupied with something other than prop-making:
The carpenters are turning the wooden parts of the old props into cat houses.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Yusuf Sofuoğlu, who has been working at the workshops of City Theaters for decades, said they are happy to put in extra work to help the four-legged beauties living on the streets.
Stating that the workshop has been producing cat houses for a month now, Sofuoğlu said: "We use wooden parts that cannot be reused for other stage items. We have made 15 cat houses so far. We will continue to use old props and turn them into houses for stray animals."
Once the stage items are no longer in use, they are brought to the workshops in pieces. Here, the carpenters dismantle them and decide whether they can be used in future productions. Those that cannot be reused for the theater are used for cat houses.
"We make everything here in these workshops," said Sofuoğlu. "We make the plans and paint the houses. As you can see, the cat houses are really beautiful. It makes us happy to think that cats will find shelter in the houses that we made in winter."
Zero Waste Project
Championed by first lady Emine Erdoğan, the Zero Waste Project aims to reduce waste and encourage recycling in every area of daily life.
In recent years, Turkey has started to prioritize waste management over concerns about rising environmental damage, with municipalities responsible for garbage collection upgrading their waste management systems. Turkey also managed to recycle more than half of the plastic bottles in the market last year. According to official figures, out of the 236,000 tons of plastic bottles sold last year, 140,000 tons were recycled. In the first quarter of this year, 17,500 tons of plastic bottles were recycled to be used again.
Turkey's recycling drive saved more than 30 million trees between 2017 and 2018, and more than 1.7 million tons of waste paper and cartons were recycled last year and in the first three months of 2018.