Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Taking recycling to the extreme

I've mentioned before how good the Turks are at recycling.  I am always amazed at how they can find a use for almost everything that is discarded.

Everywhere you go in Turkey you will see plants and flowers growing in old olive oil cans, paint tins and similar containers.

When we first moved here there were only two bins down in the village and I wondered where everyone was disposing of their rubbish.  Gradually over a period of about six months, more bins appeared but we are near the top of the hill and it would seem that the man with the tractor and trailer collecting the rubbish wasn't happy to come this far. 

Well eventually we got our bin and agreed to pay an extra 3 lira on top of our water bill for collection. Of course we don't object to paying such a small amount, but then again there is no regular collection.  We can wait anything up to 5 or 6 weeks for the tractor to appear.  This bin is for use by us and our neighbours...there are 5 other houses who can use this bin.  But I am the only person who uses it.  The others don't want to pay 3 lira for collection.  But that isn't the main reason.  They just don't generate enough rubbish to justify the use of a bin.

I would say I'm pretty good at recycling, but these villagers beat me hands down.  They seem to recycle absolutely everything, and what little amount of rubbish can't be re-used will be thrown onto a bonfire about once a month.  And we're not talking about a big bonfire here...just a very small one which will probably only burn for about 10 minutes.

This morning Mr Ayak decided to clean and tidy the old house in our garden.  Most of the rubbish in there consisted of old things I had no further use for in the house.  Because Mr A has this Turkish habit of never wanting to throw anything away, over the next couple of hours, he kept popping back indoors with various items which he thought I could use, whilst I kept insisting that the reason they were no longer in the house was because I no longer had any use for them.   So we had this ridiculous situation where he would be dumping stuff indoors and I would take them back out again!

Eventually he accumulated a huge pile of rubbish to be disposed of and made several trips with the wheelbarrow to dump them out in the lane next to the rubbish bin.  I said that I didn't think this was a good idea because we had no idea when the tractor would next be up to collect the rubbish and it was blocking the lane.   He said don't worry, it won't be there for long.

Sure enough, within 5 minutes my next door neighbour was out rummaging through our rubbish, picking out various useless (to me) items and throwing them over her wall.  And when I say useless...I really mean stuff that I could never imagine anyone being able to make use of.

A little later two women came down the lane with their flock of sheep and they also stopped and had a rummage, gathering up some more things.

I went back in the house, got on with my cooking and about an hour later took a bag of rubbish out to the bin and was amazed to see that what amounted to about 6 wheelbarrows full of absolutely worthless trash had completely disappeared.

Maybe I'm not as good at recycling as I thought I was...I certainly can't compete with these people!


  1. Oh my gosh, you just described the comedy act my wife and I play when cleaning out the house. I play the role of Mr Ayak, always trying to bring stuff back in.:) Tell me, does he fight you over socks that have holes in them too?

  2. Oh yes Mr H..holey socks! And he also has a jumper which I just cannot get him to part with. It has been washed thousands of times and is so thin now that it's almost transparent...aaargh!

  3. Ok. I’m back. (This is me writing in a low whisper) Just sneaked out while they’re watching the soaps. I’m travelling incognito see. Sort of ‘in disguise’ .Darin aren’t I! So just pretend you don’t recognise me while I’m here. Kay? Oh and if you hear someone shuffling around downstairs in your cellar, don’t worry…that’ll be me. I want to have a rummage around in all those dusty old posts you keep down there. See what old gems I can find. I’ve brought a little torch this time too. Promise I’ll leave it all tidy before I sneak off again. Honest. Oh…and if anybody comes looking for me – I’m not here – and you haven’t seen me since last week.

    Exciting isn’t it – ‘sneaky blogging’.

    Ssshhhh !!

  4. that's why the dogs were barking do make me chuckle :-))

  5. A couple of years ago, we decided to do something about clearing the sheds.

    Mr. Fly has a method...when one shed is full he starts to fill another, so it was going to be some undertaking.
    The family from Belgium came down for a few days and got to work....

    Their method was to work in two sheds at once so that he was forever 'flying' between them wailing in despair as yet another burnt out drill went into the trailer and while he was wailing in one shed gear went out of another...

    Eventually the first trailer load was ready for the dump.

    He emerged, looking as if he was about to meet his Maker and prowled round it while Jan slapped his hand if he started to pull anything out.

    There was a final wail of
    'That's my life in there...' which he has never lived down...and the trailer was of many...and the blasted sheds still looked full!

    What we should have done was to invite your neighbours!

  6. Thats interesting! It puts us to shame over here. I have never seen such extravagant waste as some of the people I know chuck in their bins.
    To be honest many people do recycle here. However the ones that don't have overflowing bins & put in stuff that could be recycled or given away.
    It takes all kinds.......
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  7. Fly: That's a wonderful story and I can just imagine it! I think if anyone was to go into the gardens of any of the villagers here and start removing all the rubbish there would be a hell of a lot of wailing going on!

    Maggie: I'm always shocked on my trips to England to see the amount of stuff thrown in bins. It does make me realise that I am really quite good at recycling these days.

  8. That's a great story, Ayak! I wish I could see what the neighbours used some of those discarded items for. They're making me feel guilty for being such a wasteful Kuzey Amerikali...

  9. Deniz I'm also curious and will be looking over my neighbour's wall over the next few days to see what she is doing with my rubbish. You never know I may regret having parted with it!

  10. Hahahaha thats a good way of disposing of things wonder what it will all be used for. When Iused to live in Spain we put things that could be used by someone else by the side of the rubbish bin and a lot of that disappeared and I thought it was a good idea of the spaniards to do it.

  11. Its common practise to do this here too Bomb but I've never seen so much rubbish disappear so fast!


I love getting comments, but don't feel obliged...I'm just happy you're reading my blog.

Posts are moderated to avoid spam, so if you post under "Anonymous",leave your name at the end of your comment so that I know it's a "real" person!.

If you would like to help my rescue dogs and the strays (dogs and cats) of our village and local industrial estate, please email me for details at Thankyou x