The Istanbul metro has installed the city’s first vending machine that accepts recycled bottles and cans in return for credit that can be used on the capital’s transportation pass, Hurriyet Daily News has reported.
Launched at Istanbul’s İTÜ-Ayazağa metro stop, the municipality plans to install at least 100 more of the “reverse vending machines” at 25 other locations, including at schools and universities, in a bid to encourage the public to take recycling more seriously.
When a commuter inserts a plastic bottle, the machine is able to evaluate the size of the container and credits the user’s Istanbul card accordingly. A 0.33 litre bottle will return the Turkish equivalent of two cents, a 0.5 litre bottle will return three, one litre bottle will return six and a 1.5 litre container will return nine. The recyclables will then be crushed, shredded and sorted to be used in other manufacturing.
“With these smart machines, our waste management department and the municipality’s Smart City Technologies Company will contribute to the protection of the environment,” Istanbul’s Metropolitan Municipality said last month when the move was announced.
Istanbul’s Mayor, Mevlut Uysal, also added that the machines would track the number of bottles recycled by each passenger and reward those who reused the largest number of containers with free or discounted tickets to public events.
The initiative has been met positively by people around the world on social media, with some calling for the machines to be installed in other cities.
— Melissa Wenzel (@melissawmpca) October 17, 2018
This is cool. #Istanbul metro vending machines that accept recycled bottles, cans etc as credit. More of this please – recycling is still a rare concept here and it might help to clean up a rubbish-strewn city. https://t.co/Kk3iK8nKt1
— Mark Lowen (@marklowen) October 17, 2018
According to a 2017 report by the UK consultancy group Expert Market, Turkey is Europe’s third-largest producer of household and commercial waste, and it is the worst in the region at recycling.
However a recycling drive launched since last June has seen progress; according to the undersecretary for the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry Mustafa Ozturk, changes have saved 30 million trees over the past 15 months. He added that more than half of all the plastic bottles in Turkey were recycled in 2017, with at least 1.7 million tonnes of waste paper and cartons recycled last year until the first three months of 2018.