Compulsory payment reduces use of plastic bags in Turkey and saves $212.1 million

About TL 3.8 billion ($212.14 million) has been saved so far in Turkey after the government initiative recommended charging shoppers 0.25 TL per plastic bag, a practice that has become mandatory regulation in 2019.

The app was launched by the Ministry of Environment, Urban Planning and Climate Change with the aim of encouraging recycling through the Zero Waste project.

The Zero Waste project, meanwhile, was launched in 2017, led by first lady Emine Erdoğan.

Plastic pollution is a global concern as the climate crisis has gripped the world. In 2019, 170 countries pledged to reduce their use of plastic by 2030 at the United Nations.

Plastic bags are made from petroleum-based polyethylene. When polyethylene materials become waste, they become harmful to ecosystems and nature.

The production value of plastic, which entered human life at the beginning of the 20th century, was around 1.5 million tons in the 1950s and exceeded 335 million tons per year.

Before 2019, the production of plastic bags in Turkey was about 35 billion pieces per year, while an average person used 440 plastic bags per year.

With the charging of plastic bags, the use of plastic bags in Turkey has decreased by about 65%, and thus the generation of 550,000 tons of plastic waste from plastic bags has been avoided.

In addition, with this reduction, approximately 22,746 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions have been avoided.

With the decrease in the use of plastic bags, the import of plastic raw materials required for the production of plastic bags in Turkey has also decreased and about 3.8 billion TL have been saved.

The use of reusable carrying equipment such as cloth bags and nets has become widespread as

citizens’ awareness of the subject has increased.

The Zero Waste Project has led Turkey’s fight against climate change. In the five years since its launch, it has helped the country save enough water to meet the annual needs of 2 million households for one year, or 572 billion liters.

Overall, the Zero Waste project contributed $3.4 billion (TL 62.2 billion) to the Turkish economy by saving resources.

The initiative mainly aims to bring the country into line with the principles of sustainable development, prevent uncontrolled waste and leave a “cleaner and developed” country to future generations according to the ministry.

Since 2017, it has been slowly but surely gaining support from various sectors. By next year, the objective is to generalize it throughout the territory to bring the recycling rate to 35% and reduce the regular waste storage rate to 65%. It covers and will further cover municipal areas, public institutions, ports, airports, bus and train stations, schools, shopping malls, hospitals, tourist facilities, large workplaces and high density places. population and waste diversity.

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Bryce K. Locke