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Eco-friendly Kalkan: Recycling and reducing single use plastic PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 20 January 2018

Eco KalkanIt’s a brand new year and things are looking good for Kalkan in 2018.  As we reported yesterday on KTLN, in terms of tourism it looks very much as though a negative outlook has turned positive.

So in that spirit of positivity KTLN is this year going to dedicate time and energy to another subject where we believe we need to turn a negative into a positive. 

This year we will be focusing on the environment.  It’s a theme you are going to read a lot about on KTLN this year, and we very much hope that you will support us in what we are hoping to achieve here in Kalkan.  If you want to help please read on.

Türkçe okumak için buraya tıklayın.  (To read this in Turkish click here)

If you’re a Kalkan regular you don’t need us to tell you what an amazing place it is.  The attractions are obvious.  But it has to be acknowledged that even though we are in an area of outstanding natural beauty there is not enough going on to protect and preserve the environment.  There is very little awareness of recycling facilities and a casual acceptance of high levels of single use plastics. 

Kalkan nestles between two areas of natural beauty that are so wonderful they are designated as specially protected areas - Patara beach and Kekova/Üçağız.  Yet there seems to be very little concern for the damage we may be doing to those places through our over-use of plastics and poor recycling.  Or to be more accurate, there may be concern expressed but this rarely translates to any actual change in behaviour.

Below: A photo from a Patara beach clean up walk in 2016. Too much plastic ends up in the sea and on our beaches.

It’s not just an issue in Kalkan and Kaş.  If you look at this online news report you will see the scale of the challenge.  Turkey among 20 countries responsible for bad plastic waste management in the world

On the plus side, there is an organisation in Turkey that is responsible for promoting the eco-agenda.  It’s called Tükçev.  They are working to improve things in Turkey and have some excellent ideas.  You can read more about what they are trying to do on their web site.  It’s in Turkish, but the Google Chrome web browser can give you a reasonable translation into English.

Action in Kalkan
Now we come on to the really important bit.  What is it that we can do to make a difference here in Kalkan?

We should start by acknowledging that there are some people in Kalkan who are already eco-aware and who behave in an environmentally friendly way.  Take for example the divers who every year take it upon themselves to remove rubbish from Kalkan Bay that has been shamelessly tossed into the sea - see photo below.  We have walkers who will from time to time comb Patara beach to rid it of rubbish that has washed ashore - see photo above.

Underwater clean up

There is also a Facebook group called Eco Kalkan (Çevreci Kalkan).  If you use Facebook we would encourage you to join the group to discover what they are talking about.

These people care about the local environment and are keen to take action to improve things.  But the concept of "Eco Kalkan" needs to be more widely embraced.  So working in line with Tükçev principles we want to encourage many more people to come on board so that we can make more of a difference here in Kalkan.  Here’s how you can help.

Eco-friendly initiatives for 2018
Spreading the word on social media is all well and good (and we encourage it) but it’s action that is required if things are going to change.

In Kalkan this year there are three initiatives that we want to take forward on KTLN - two are for individuals and the third is for businesses.  We will tell you more about the one for businesses in another report, but for now we want to tell you how you as an individual can make a difference with the other two initiatives.

Initiative No.1 - Recycling waste in Kalkan

You may not realise this but Kalkan has collection points for rubbish that can be recycled.  As we publish this report there are eleven such points around town.  The map below shows you where they are.  Most of them are blue metal mesh cages and they should have some kind of sign to show they are for waste recycling.

Below: As at January 2018 - recycling collection points.

You will notice that several of them are located close to supermarkets where there is a lot of cardboard to recycle.  However they are there for all of us to use.  These metal cages are emptied not by Belediye workmen but by a company contracted to collect recyclable waste.  We encourage you to please use them and we would also like you to spread the word and encourage others to do the same. 

All you have to do is separate your rubbish at home (or your rented holiday accommodation) into what is recyclable and what isn’t.  Then take the recyclable stuff to your nearest collection point.  Please don’t drop it off by the normal bins that are emptied by the Belediye.

Below: Some cages have a recycling sign like this one opposite Anka (Yalı) supermarket.

Collection point for recyclable rubbish

Below: Some cages don't have a sign, like this one opposite the Health Centre on Kalamar Road.  We have asked the collection company if they can put signs on all cages.

Collection point for recyclable rubbish

Things that can be recycled are:

  • Paper and cardboard
  • Plastics (all types)
  • Glass (preferably not broken)
  • Metal (tin cans etc.)

Recycling blue boxYou don’t have to separate the recyclable waste into different types.  This is done by the company that collects the waste.  Where applicable you should rinse off any food so that the waste is reasonably clean.  This is for two reasons - firstly it reduces any bad smells as you store it and secondly it is not so unpleasant for the workers who will be manually separating the rubbish.

Also please remember that some glass bottles such as Efes and Tuborg beer bottles can be returned to shops where you can obtain a deposit back (currently 15 kuruş per bottle).  Alternatively it has become an accepted practise to leave these bottles at the side of the normal Belediye rubbish bins so the Belediye workmen can obtain a few lira. 

Storage bins for homes shops and offices
The company that empties the recycling waste bins also provides smaller blue boxes for domestic use, or for shops and offices.  Please see image left.  These are made from recycled plastic and they are supplied free of charge. 

Whilst it is not essential to have these containers in your home for you to store your recyclable waste, they are quite useful and they do serve as a visible reminder to separate household waste.  These may be especially useful if you rent out your property as it will be more obvious to your renters that rubbish is being recycled in Kalkan.

If you wish you can place a large bin liner in your blue box to keep it clean, and drop of the recyclable waste in the bin liner - bag and all.  The bin liner will be recycled too.
Recyclable waste

What happens to this waste?
Some of you may be asking what happens to all the paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal that’s collected.  It’s a reasonable question to ask, especially in view of the fact that a previous attempt at recycling rubbish in Kalkan failed.

We followed the trail and went to Antalya to discover how the waste was processed.  If you want to read our report please click on the following link: Collecting and recycling rubbish in Kalkan - how it works. The bottom line here is that we believe this current collection system works, so you can separate your recyclable waste with some degree of confidence that it is doing some good.

So whether you are a Kalkan resident or a holidaymaker please do your bit to recycle your rubbish.  You will be making a difference.  If you come on holiday and find that the place your staying in doesn’t have a blue recycling box please ask the owners if they can provide one.

If you want one of the blue boxes for your villa or apartment you can collect one from Blue Turtle Cafe and Bar in town.  Alternatively please click on the following link for more information: Blue Box for Recycling

Initiative No.2 - Say NO to single use plastics

This sounds so simple but it is so important.

By our reckoning there are around 140 bars, cafes and restaurants in and around Kalkan.  We are fortunate to have so much choice and quality.  In KTLN surveys 98% of you say you are satisfied or very satisfied with them.

However they are unwittingly the source of a mountain of single use plastics, such as individual water bottles, straws, stirrers and even wet wipes, which are devastating for our environment.  A huge amount of plastic ends up in the sea or blighting our countryside.

And the sad fact is we don’t really need these things.  We may like them or want them but we don’t need them.  So we are asking all of you this year - please say NO to single use plastics.

  1. When you order your drinks please tell the waiter "No straws and no stirrers".  Some places may offer paper straws or indeed re-usable bamboo or stainless steel straws - this is better than using plastic straws but they are still not essential.  Take a look at this story on BBC News online  and at this video if you’re on Facebook Strawless in Seattle  Also check this out: The Final Straw Cornwall
  2. If you ask for water say that you want it from a glass bottle.  Many places already serve water from glass bottles.  It is widely available and is better for the environment.  Insist on this.  It may cost you a few kuruş more but it won’t ruin your holiday budget.
  3. Refuse wet wipes.  Use the facilities to wash your hands with soap and water.  Wet wipes are first and foremost a marketing tool and they are definitely not eco-friendly.
  4. If you are having a take-away meal don’t accept your food being placed in polystyrene containers.  Pizzas can be delivered in boxes - preferably boxes without a shiny plastic coating.
And here are a couple more things to consider when shopping.
  1. When you go to the shop or market please take your own shopping bags and don’t use the plastic bags given out.  Supermarkets in Turkey were supposed to be bringing in a small charge for plastic bags at the checkout this year but we now understand that this charge will not be introduced until 2019.  But with just a little forward planning (much as you have to do in the UK) you can use your own bags now.  Migros sells “bags for life” for less than 3 lira.  Other supermarkets probably do something similar.
  2. Please don’t buy your water in small plastic bottles.  Water is available in glass bottles.  You can also get large 19 litre damacans to dispense water at home, which although made of plastic are at least re-used many times.

Below:  The Migros re-usable bag - when you have worn it out it's bio-degradable.

Reusable shopping bags

Just say NO
So in summary please say NO to all types of single use plastics.  Restaurants and cafes offer them because they think customers want them, but as we have said you don’t really need any of them.  They are an environmental scourge and the proliferation of their use is totally avoidable.

 NO to straws & stirrers
 NO to plastic bottles
 NO to wet wipes
 NO to polystyrene boxes
 NO to straws and stirrersNO to plastic bottles
NO to wet wipes
No to polystyrene containers

Images above courtesy of Raw Foundation.

Eco KalkanStep by step
Protecting and improving the environment is a huge challenge and we are realistic.  Kalkan is a small place and any impact we may have here is tiny in the greater scheme of things.

But even if others don’t try so hard that’s no reason why we shouldn’t do something.  You can still make an impact locally.  We live next to the Mediterranean Sea between the specially protected areas of Patara beach and Kekova/Üçağız, so surely that in itself must be an incentive for us to do better.

Change won’t happen overnight but the only way to move forward is for each of us to do what we can.  We may love Kalkan for a whole host of reasons but let’s make it stand out from the crowd even more by making it an eco-friendly centre of excellence.

Step by step we can make a difference if we act.  Let’s make 2018 a year of action.

If you have any feedback on this subject or if you have any ideas as to how we can do more to protect and improve our environment we would like to hear from you. 

You can get in touch with us by clicking on this link:  Contact KTLN


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Last Updated on Saturday, 27 January 2018