Although separating household waste into different bins for general waste and recyclables is not legally mandated in Turkey, with rising awareness, more and more people are asking for recycling bins to be put outside of their houses and apartments.
But even without a designated bin, everyone can contribute to increasing the amount of rubbish that gets recycled and the amount of valuable resources that get reused. Here are three lesser-known tips to help you make your contribution.
1. Buy products with light or transparent packaging
Black or very dark plastics used to package food and other products are usually not recognized by the scanners at recycling plants and so they aren't recycled, according to the German Association of Local Utilities (VKU). That is why it is helpful to buy light-colored plastic packaging if you can.
2. Don't put bioplastics in recycling bin
"Compostable" or "biodegradable" plastics are often problematic. Lots of manufacturers suggest that these are compostable, but that label can be deceptive, according to the VKU. They often end up having to be sorted out at composting facilities and put back into the general rubbish.
And even when they are genuinely compostable, the conditions in private compost heaps or in larger facilities are not enough to make plastics rot fast enough.
Even in plastic recycling plants, the bioplastics have to be sorted out, and they interfere with the recycling process because they are not made from traditional plastics. Ultimately they end up in the general rubbish.
Avoiding plastic in the first place when shopping is still the best strategy.
3. Don't smash glass jars and bottles
This might sound a bit odd, but according to the VKU, it is of huge benefit if glass containers don't break when they land in the bin. The less damaged the glass is, the easier it is to recycle, it says. Broken glass also constitutes a great danger to stray animals, a common scene in Turkey, so if you do happen to discard broken glass, you might want to somehow wrap it up so it doesn't hurt others – though this may be a hindrance at the recycling plant.
Aside from that, sort your glass according to color if you can: brown glass goes in the brown container and green glass in the green. Other colors, for example, blue, are best off in the green glass container because it's easier to incorporate them into the recycling process for green glass, according to recycling experts in Germany. In Turkey, there is no distinction for colored glass, and only one type of recycling bin for glass is offered.
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