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Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

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It’s fascinating to see how the world is promoting recycling through creative strategies. The ‘what’s-in-it-for-me?’ factor of human behaviour always comes into play. So Istanbul has decided to offer free transportation for people who recycle.

The passengers receive free credit on their train/bus cards everytime they bring an empty plastic bottle or can for recycling. The process is fully automated. The municipality has designed “smart containers” that would be able to collect 0.33, 1, and 1.5-litre bottle.

The “smart containers” were manufactured by the municipality’s participant company Istanbul IT and Smart City Technologies Inc. (Isbak). These special containers are cheaper than other waste management and recycling systems in Istanbul and would be located in the underground stations and schools.

“Containers will give 0.02 Turkish liras ($0.003) free credits for 0.33-liter bottle, 0.03 liras ($0.0045) for 0.5-liter, 0.06 liras ($0.009) for 1-liter, 0.09 liras ($0.014) for 1.5-liter, 0.07 liras ($0.01) for 0.33-liter can and 0.09 liras ($0.014) for 0.5-liter,” the mayor stated.

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That’s not all. The mayor plans to reward the citizens who recycle by providing them with other municipal services with discounts like theatre tickets. The municipality of Istanbul wants to take the recycling further by introducing smart containers for glass and batteries as well.

“So far, we have produced 10 containers and will produce 100 containers within a month” he added.

“As an environment awareness sample, Istanbul Municipality’s Smart Container initiative is remarkable for solid waste management,” first Lady Emine Erdogan said. “We can solve our environmental problems with the joint efforts of our citizens and municipalities.”

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey. Out of the total 17,000 tons of domestic waste collected in the city, only 6 tons get processed and recycled at the municipality’s facilities.

Introducing measures that would attract and appeal to citizens might be a good strategy to get the ball rolling. If we wish to educate people about resource management, we need to incorporate recycling as a habitual activity rather than a task. We wish luck to Istanbul.

Image credits- Hurriyet Daily News

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