Re-use, repurpose, recycle

One of the few things I don’t like about living where we live is that there is no recycling. Back in London, the people who collected for Ealing Council left us with a lidded bin for food waste, a green plastic box for cardboard, glass and newspaper (they were also supposed to take clothing but they usually left that), a pink sack for garden waste and we could have requested a white sack for recyclable plastics. The rest went into black plastic bags in a communal bin shed. I put a lot of effort into getting everything into the right container and old clothes would either get put out for anything that looked like a genuine collection (we had a lot of fake ones round our way) or to Tesco where they had a clothes collection for the Red Cross.
Here everything goes into the communal bin. Food waste, rubbish bins, old clothes, packaging, ash from fires, building rubble, half of next door’s fig tree which has just been trimmed. And, of course, here you get a plastic bag with every purchase whether you want one or not; a full sized plastic bag for three garlic bulbs etc. I do find this disconcerting. There are several men who wander the streets round here – pretty much the equivalent of London Rag and Bone men – some of them will accept our beer cans, others only want the big stuff. But there’s a limit to the amount we can store whilst waiting for the right man in the right mood to take them away.
Plastic 5 gallon water jars are saved and given to the neighbour of a friend who repurposes them for olive oil. We repurpose our yoghurt pots – we’ve taken to buying the flat sort which make particularly good storage boxes for the fridge – but some of them went for plant pots. I even repurpose the ayran bottles (cut them off near the bottom and they make reasonable containers for keeping herbs in the fridge in water). Glass jars are, of course, easy. One of our old tea tins now contains dice. Yes, we play a lot of games and we, therefore, have a lot of dice. Many of them with more than six sides…
Cardboard and newspaper is being stored to be used with the kindling to light the Soba.
There is a collection going on for blue plastic bottle tops, this is a local thing in aid of buying wheelchairs. We have collected a few and will no doubt collect more.
This still leaves a lot of rubbish. I don’t know what to do with all those plastic bags. I mean the ones I can’t repurpose as rubbish bags. I know you can knit and crochet with them but… it’s a lot of work and the end product looks like it’s been made of plastic bags and I don’t think the bags here have very good wearing qualities. And, even if I did that, there is a limit to the amount of shopping bags I need. And, once we have a sufficiency of containers, I don’t know what I will do with the excess yoghurt pots, ayran bottles and glass jars. I suppose I could make pickles in the glass jars. And buy things in greater bulk.


13 responses to “Re-use, repurpose, recycle

  1. Ah but have you not seen the men with carts that go around rummaging in the bins? They do the recycling for you. They remove plastic bottles, tins, newspapers and all sorts of stuff which they sell. It gives them an income. So don’t worry too much about it.
    As for the plastic bags…I agree with you…far too many are used in supermarkets and in the markets. I always take my own shopping bags with me and refuse the plastic ones.

    • Ashley has seen men rummaging in the bins. Hilary has not. It makes me feel a lot better to know that someone is making an income from my wastefulness.

      • Yes it made me feel a lot better when I discovered them. I do also save all my glass jars for jam-making, and plastic icecream containers for storing things. Although I have to admit to being embarrassed when my mother-in-law opened one of my cupboards on a recent visit and hundreds of icecream containers fell out…well I really like icecream!

  2. It sounds a bit like when I was growing up in the 1970s, before recycling was invented. 🙂

    We used to burn all paper and cardboard in a pit in the garden; the ashes got dug out at intervals and added to the compost heap. All food waste went to the compost heap too. Yoghurt cartons made useful non-breakable drinking “glasses” for us kids, and also came in handy for growing seedlings. Other plastic tubs got reused for freezing food as well as other storage.

    I don’t know if any of this is useful in your situation…

    • We can’t do a compost heap – we don’t really have a garden (there are pots and a couple of beds but mostly it’s house or concrete or terrace). And we tend to buy yoghurt in Kg or 1.5 Kg containers. Otherwise, all good. Jam will wait till next season but I have a serious craving to pickle something. I should preserve some lemons whilst they are fairly cheap. And there are little pickling cucumbers all over the markets… Not to mention the hot peppers.

  3. Bodrum Council have a few recylcing bins dotted about for glass, plastic and paper but I think it all goes in the same rubbish truck. In some parts of Turkey whole families exist near the dumps and make a meagre living from recycling. They are bottom of the heap (forgive the pun) in Turkish society.

    • Kusadasi does have recycling bins. We’re not there long enough to see how they are used. I think they will take a while to reach us here in Selcuk. Though I am very glad to hear that the bins are still being harvested. I’d completely failed to observe that. We know where the big dump is near here but have not visited it.

  4. I guess it depends on where you live and how interested the belediye is in recycling. We have recycling bins dotted all along Fethiye harbour that we can use. As for when we’re on the market, it was getting a bit ridiculous, the amount of plastic bags we were picking up. Now we try to buy quite a few things from the same stall and the stallholders squish as much as they can into one bag for us. We take our rucksack to the supermarket and out our shopping in that. 🙂 Easier to carry, too.

    • We have a shopping trolley which we use for the supermarket so we don’t get plastic bags there. The stallholders here do insist on giving you a separate plastic bag for everything. Leaving a stall without your veg in a plastic bag causes some distress (and we don’t like to distress the people who grow our food). All our local corner shops provide plastic bags (though as we only normally use them for beer and for bread, this can’t be helped). I did manage to buy some masking tape and a small quantity of mixed nuts today without a plastic bag but the hardware shop aren’t too fussy and the nut shop is used to tourists.

  5. Back home I had those cotton bags from Ikea and took them shopping. I will need to find them here as well (does not have to be Ikea) 🙂 For now, I reuse the already received plastic bags and do not take any new ones.

    • We find it doesn’t matter what bag we take – we still get a fresh plastic bag for every item. The only places we manage to refuse them are the supermarkets.

  6. Hi. A while past and it is time for an update. Now, I know what you mean 🙂 I shop at the local market and I started bringing my plastic bags back to the market with me and I still have so much of them. Anyways, remembered this post when I was folding all the bags I have and smiled to myself.

    • We have still not worked out what to do with all the plastic bags. The belediye has asked that rubbish put into the big bins is put inside plastic bags first so we do this. But wee seem to keep accumulating more and more.

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