The Zero Waste principle aims to source separate, collect, and recycle waste, and, therefore, to prevent excess use of raw materials and energy consumption. To this end, Turkey aims to realize the Zero Waste Project by 2023, primarily at places where recycled waste is mainly produced such as public institutes, terminals, educational establishments, shopping centers, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and large office buildings.
As the Zero Waste Project leaves one year behind, the Zero Waste Summit was held at Beştepe National Congress and Culture Center to discuss the current situation of waste in Turkey and the world and its effects. Hosted at the Presidential Complex with the attendance of First Lady H.E. Emine Erdoğan, the Zero Waste Summit discussed the project’s environmental, social, and ethical aspects in addition to its contribution to circular economy. The summit also shared numerous experiences about the best practices related to the project. Attended by a wide audience including public officers, local authorities, private industry, foreign mission and media representatives, and non-governmental organizations, the summit organized discussion panels titled “Best Examples of Zero Waste”, “The Effect of Zero Waste Applications on Industry”, and “The Social Aspect of Zero Waste Management.”
First Lady H.E. Emine Erdoğan made a speech at the summit. She invited everyone to act responsibly towards the environment by saying, “We aim to achieve a more habitable environment and a stronger economy by source separating and recycling waste as part of the Zero Waste Project. We started this project in October 2017 and it has shown a good improvement with the contribution of the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning. We implemented the project at the Presidential Complex, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, and ministry buildings, and it is spanning the country in waves. Within the scope of the project, we’ve received great support from all parts of the community in a year. Industrialists, businesspeople, and universities have installed exemplary systems in their own organization. I’d like to congratulate each for their environmental sensibility.
Now it’s mostly up to the municipalities. They need to collect waste source separated by the citizens and to recycle it. The municipalities need to abandon unsanitary disposal and focus on recycling instead of storage or burning. All cities should have integrated facilities which can turn waste into energy or compost. To support this, we should abandon the 'disposable goods' culture and initiate change. Our individual approaches are the first step in this effort."
Republic of Turkey Minister of Environment and Urban Planning Murat Kurum also gave a speech at the summit. He stated, “For about a year, we’ve collected and recycled a great deal of source-separated waste including 2.2 million tons of packaging; 58,000 tons of electric or electronic waste; 38,000 tons of vegetable oil waste; 80,000 tons of mineral oil waste; and 184,000 tons of end-of-life tires. Our goal is to implement this approach throughout the country with the Zero Waste Regulation we’ll be publishing soon.
According to this regulation, the municipalities will conduct a double waste collection system in this regard. As of January 1, 2019, we will charge for plastic bags, decreasing the yearly use of plastic bags per person from 440 to 90 by the end of 2019 and to 40 by 2025. Another development is to charge a deposit for beverage packaging. With these innovative steps, we will provide direct employment for 100,000 people and an economic contribution of 20 billion Turkish liras in addition to a saving of water and electricity worth Istanbul’s yearly need, saving trees twice the number of those in Belgrade Forest, and a decrease of 8% in current deficit.”
At the end of the summit, Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee M. İlker Aycı received the Award for Sustainability Politics and Support for the Zero Waste Project on behalf of the company.