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Collecting and recycling rubbish in Kalkan - how it works PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 21 January 2018

Processing recyclable rubbishKTLN recently told you about some environmental initiatives taking place in Kalkan this year.  Eco-friendly Kalkan: Recycling and reducing single use plastic  We are asking everyone to join in and do their bit.  Please join us.

One of those initiatives is to embrace recycling by separating your household rubbish and taking it to recycling collection points around town.

In this report we explain how the system works and what happens to the recyclable waste that you drop off at the collection points.  We want to reassure you that doing this will make a difference.

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

Belediye contract
In 2017 Kaş Belediye made an agreement with Seka Ambalaj Geri Dönüşüm Ltd.Sti. a company based in Antalya, to collect recyclable waste.  This contract runs until 2020.  

The company has three lorries based in Kaş, Kınık and Yeşilköy that collect recyclable waste from the whole of the Kaş district.  Whilst they collect and sort waste they don’t recycle it themselves; however they are an important first link in the overall chain.

As far as Kalkan is concerned the company has placed a number of metal cages around town which are collection points for recyclable waste.  These are emptied on a regular basis - the frequency of collection depends on the season and how quickly the cages are filled.

As we publish this report there are eleven such points around town.  The map below shows you where they are.  

Recycling collection points

We are in discussion with the company to see if we can get a few more as there appear to be some gaps in coverage.  We are also talking to them about the possibility of nearby Gelemiş (Patara) being included.

In our previous report Eco-friendly Kalkan: Recycling and reducing single use plastic we explained what can be recycled and how to use these collection points.  But we wanted to know what happens to it all after we have dropped it off, so we went to Antalya to find out more.

Recycling collection pointWhat happens to the recyclable rubbish?

Let’s start at the beginning.  You separate your rubbish at home into that which is recyclable (cardboard, paper, plastics, glass and metal), and other waste.

The first noteworthy point is that you don’t need to separate the different types of recyclable material.  You can place cardboard, paper, plastics, glass and metal cans together and drop them off in a single plastic rubbish bag at one of the collection points.  (The plastic bag will be recycled). 

The image left shows the collection point opposite Anka (Yalı) supermarket.

When the lorry comes to collect the waste the workers do a rough sort to manually separate the different types of waste.  This is then taken to a local depot in Kınık, where it is combined with waste from other locations.  From there it is driven to the main processing unit in the Kepez district of Antalya.

Sorting in Antalya
The unit is in the middle of an industrial complex which is packed with other businesses.  It’s a hive of activity - some of it quite messy and dirty, so not a place to visit in your Sunday best.  We noticed at least another half a dozen units involved in collecting and processing recyclable waste.

We saw for ourselves how people manually sort through the waste to separate rubbish into different types.  It’s hard work with very little in the way of mechanised help. 

Processing recyclable rubbish

Once sorted the piles of rubbish are moved by heavy machinery to the foot of a huge pressing machine. 

Processing recyclable rubbish

Batches of plastic or cardboard/paper are loaded on to a conveyor belt and dropped inside the machine where they are compressed into bales.  

Processing recyclable rubbish

At this particular waste collection company around 50% of what they deal with is cardboard/paper - much of this comes from shops and supermarkets.  Around 45% is plastic - mostly bottles; 4% is glass and just 1% metal.  

Processing recyclable rubbish

The bales are then stacked up until a lorry comes along to take them to one of a number of recycling complexes in Istanbul, Ankara or Gaziantep.

Processing recyclable rubbish

Recycling in Antalya
Interestingly some aspects of recycling are done in Antalya.  We saw how plastic bags are separated from other types of plastic waste.  Here is what happens.  The bags are sub-divided into colourless bags and those with colour as they are destined for different recycling processes.  

Processing recyclable rubbish

We were taken to a nearby industrial unit in Kepez where the coloured plastic bags are shredded into small pieces. 

Processing recyclable rubbish

These are then transported to another business where these fragments are transformed into small grey pellets.

Processing recyclable rubbish

We were then shown another unit in the Kepez area that uses these pellets to make plastic pipes. 

Processing recyclable rubbish

The pellets are fed into the machine above which heats the plastic until it is malleable enough to be extruded into a continuous tube, which is pushed along, cooled and then pushed out at the end and wound into a coil of finished plastic tubing.  This is typically used in the agriculture sector.

Processing recyclable rubbish

Processing recyclable rubbish

It’s a clear example of how plastic is being usefully recycled and turned into something we need rather than it ending up contaminating our environment and harming wildlife.

Economics and the carbon footprint
Recycling is a complicated business.  It is not possible for KTLN to examine in detail the entire recycling processes that take place in Turkey.  Nor are we able to comment on the economics of the process - after the cost of sorting and transporting waste around we have no idea if it breaks even.  If it doesn’t perhaps it’s a cost worth paying anyway.  And then there is the carbon footprint of transporting and recycling the stuff - we shall have to leave that analysis to others.

What we do know however is that we all need to use less plastic, cardboard and other single use consumables.  That which we do use needs to be disposed of more responsibly, and not just allowed to go to landfill or contaminate our environment.  So for these reasons alone, recycling has to be the right thing to do.  It may not be perfect but we have to start somewhere.  Doing nothing is not an attractive option.

Action on the environment
The reason we wanted to follow the trail as far as we did is because we needed to know that action we are taking to separate and drop off our recyclable rubbish is going to make a difference.

Given the track record of attempts to recycle rubbish in Kalkan some people are cynical about the whole thing.  It’s quite understandable.  Whilst we were unable to follow the entire end to end trail for all the rubbish we saw being processed, we saw enough to convince us that this is a worthwhile endeavour.

If you have not read our earlier report: Eco-friendly Kalkan: Recycling and reducing single use plastic we invite you to do so, and we encourage you to recycle your rubbish here in Kalkan. 

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


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Last Updated on Saturday, 27 January 2018