I often wonder if the Turks invented recycling. It appears to be second nature to them to find a good use for things that would normally end up in the rubbish bin.
In most gardens or balconies you will see flowers planted in old cooking-oil cans instead of flower pots. These large cans are also sliced in half diagonally..attached to a broom handle, and together with a brush made from twigs, used by the street-sweepers to pick up rubbish.
Plastic carrier bags are used as bin liners. In fact they must be used for all sorts of other things as well...as I've yet to discover, because it's not unusual to see them washed and hanging out on the line to dry. I've seen children tie plastic bags to a piece of string and use them as makeshift kites on a windy day.
There is not an excess of packaging of goods here, unlike other countries. We don't have a lot of ready meals. Most food is prepared from scratch. Any packaging that exists will be put to good use once it's empty. For example, the Nutella-type chocolate spread here comes in a glass jar with a plastic lid. The empty jar is used for storage...or in the case of one of my neighbours...as a drinking vessel. She has a set of them now which she uses for tea or coffee. I know this to be true because the remains of the label could still be seen on one that she was drinking from the other day.
In most towns and cities, rubbish collection is very efficient. There are large wheely bins dotted along the streets, which are emptied by the rubbish trucks every day. There is very little thrown in these bins in the way of waste food. There is very little in the way of food wastage at all. The Turks generally can't afford to waste food. What little there is leftover, is usually placed on the ground beside the bin for the stray cats and dogs. Although the cats also jump in to the bins to scavenge. It's not unusual to be startled by half a dozen cats jumping out of the bin just as you are disposing of your rubbish.
Any plastic bottles and cans that find there way into the bins are usually removed by men (and sometimes women) who collect them up in their small hand-made carts. I assume they make money out of this...although I've never asked anyone where it all ends up.
You may sometimes see bags of old and unwanted clothes and household items sitting next to the bins. It's not considered the done thing to give your unwanted items to those in desperate need. The Turks are a proud race and don't like to be seen accepting charity. So they are left by the bins for anyone who needs them and usually disappear during the night.
When we moved to this village three months ago, one of the first things I noticed was that there were no rubbish bins to be seen anywhere....and no trucks ever call to collect rubbish. But I have to put my rubbish somewhere, so I bought a large plastic dustbin with a lid and placed it outside the gate. It has attracted some attention...people stare at it when they walk past..some even lift the lid to see what's inside. So as well as being the only people with a toilet inside the house, we are now the only ones with a dustbin.
So where does everyone else's rubbish go? I don't know where they store it, but every so often they will light a bonfire and burn it. As Mr Ayak is away, I've avoided doing this. I'm not good with bonfires. They have a habit of getting out of control and I don't want to risk burning the house down. Therefore, I've managed to find some large plastic refuse sacks, and everytime Mr Ayak manages to pop home for a night, he sets off the next morning with a couple of large sacks (the last time on a motorbike which was quite difficult) and drives 5 km out to the main road to find a bin in which to dispose of them.
It's not an entirely satisfactory arrangement as far as I am concerned, but I'll have to get used to it. These people have managed their rubbish for centuries...who am I to change it?