Turkey's recycling drive saved 30 million trees in 15 months, according to the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry's Undersecretary Mustafa Öztürk who said more than 1.7 million tons of waste paper and cartons were recycled last year and within first three months of 2018.
"This means we saved 24.6 million trees from being cut in 2017 and another 5.4 million in the first quarter of this year," Öztürk said.
In recent years, Turkey has started to prioritize waste management over concerns of rising environmental damage with municipalities responsible for garbage collection upgrading their waste management systems.
Öztürk said paper waste recycling brought in TL 905 million ($191 million) in revenue for the Turkish economy in 15 months. "It is important to return paper waste to the supply chain through recycling as a raw material. The use of recycled material in production contributes to productivity and separate storage for paper waste also saves storage space and decreases waste collecting costs for local administrations," he said. Recycling also decreases greenhouse gas emissions and in 2017 alone, Turkey prevented carbon emissions equal to 256 million kilograms by recycling paper and cardboard. It also indirectly reduces energy consumption and therefore, water consumption for energy production needs.
The country launched the Zero Waste Project last year to boost recycling efforts with the presidential complex and Parliament switching to saving everything from papers to discarded metals for recycling. The goal of the project is to apply zero waste practices everywhere, in the public and private sectors, from hospitals to shopping malls, by 2023, the centenary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey.
Turkey also managed to recycle more than half of the plastic bottles in the market last year. According to information from the ministry, out of the 236,000 tons of plastic bottles sold last year, 140,000 tons were recycled. In the first quarter this year, 17,500 tons of plastic bottles were recycled to be used again.
With a law introduced in 2017 requiring package producers to use at least 4 percent of waste materials in their products, recycling has peaked in Turkey. From recycled materials, recycling facilities produce polyester, fibers and thread along with recycled plastic materials.DAILY SABAH WITH AA