Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Taking recycling to the extreme
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!