Much is being written lately about the necessity to change the approach to our everyday life with regards to protecting the environment. Some might argue that this is all a topic best reserved for scientists and politicians yet we as citizens can actually contribute significantly to this process, too.
Granted, it took my generation quite some time before realizing that we only have one shared planet to pass on to our children. In case you originally hail from the United Kingdom you would recall that early in the 1970’s famous glam rock star Marc Bolan happily took on board the ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ campaign. Back then it was mostly about the necessity to discard waste in newly placed containers soon to be found in every neighbourhood often even being put up on lampposts so that you literally cannot avoid them. Whilst this is still a valid point, by now we have come to the conclusion that not only properly discarding our waste but actively reducing its amount is equally non-negotiable.
Which brings us to Türkiye and our fine resort and of course we find ourselves in peak summer season. As we are blessed to living in one of the world’s most well-known holiday destinations our regular population multiplies itself by many times which makes the issue of collecting and reducing household waste ever more important. Our pro-active town hall administration and their great teams out about town make certain that no garbage or waste container is left unattended; a colossal task in a constantly expanding resort. Hence this article is written as a kind of ‘to do’ – list – how can you, me help keep our resort clean and green?
First idea: buy without double packaging
It is tempting indeed – the cheese slices for our home-grilled hamburger – or as in this case, shall we rather say cheeseburger – albeit being sold in one packet of ten are individually wrapped before being wrapped up one more time, double plastic so to speak. Convenience perhaps – but quite a lot of additional household waste. If we take a closer look in the same shelve, we might however find a similar product but not sliced yet thus avoiding double packaging. Added bonus – at least to my own personal taste it is of better quality. And there are many items on offer with the same extra plastic which we may want to avoid bringing home to our kitchen.
Carefully screening other parts of the super- or hypermarket we will see many further items that merit our shopper’s scrutiny. Think eggs, consider ‘posh’ brands, talk organic. Why is it necessary to place a dozen eggs first onto a carton tray, then into a carton box, and then at checkout most likely into a plastic carrier bag on top of it all? An alternative are shops where individual eggs are placed in a simple carton box and handed over to the customer. As it is a reusable carton box with a lid on top of it, breakages are no serious threat to getting our goods home safely.
And then the carrier bags… a perfect alternative to picking up a handful of one-way plastic carrier bags each time is to buy a shopping trolley. Your friendly columnist had to be convinced himself – where we lived before seeing men with a colourful shopping card on wheels roaming the street was a rather novel occurrence, often complete with jokes ‘hey, is granny sick at home, wish her well’?
Years later we hardly leave the house embarking on a food sourcing trip regardless of male or female family members in charge without it. And for smaller items we always carry one or two reusable solid carrier bags – job done.
Second idea – frequent your local greengrocer or street market
Please do not get me wrong – supermarkets are a fantastic invention and extremely practical. But assuming that most of us long-term residents over here have a little bit of extra spare time on their hands when compared with the rat race back home splitting our food shopping trips into nice portions should be no trouble at all. Reason for mentioning this issue is that we have a wonderful range of individually owned smaller shops all around town where at least most fresh fruits and vegetables are sold lose, by the item and not pre-packaged. Here we can not only see what we are really about to pay for but are able to even taste and try, think grapes or strawberries. You will have walked past shops where larger produce, think watermelon, are offered in small chunks for would-be customers to check out if all is according to personal preference.
Third and final idea – please separate your waste
No one will be able to completely reduce her or his supermarket or other outlets’ packaging brought home, we all should be realistic. But we can minimize it, step by step. Those remaining packaging materials should nevertheless be separated before being thrown away – glass can be recycled, carton can be recycled, there is biodegradable food leftovers and then there is all other household waste. It takes just that little bit of additional organisation, but one thing is certain – our shared planet and thus our future generations will inherit a much cleaner, greener environment.
And as hot summers require us to consume lots of fresh still water on a daily basis a perfect way to start reducing household waste is to begin using a water cooler for those 19-liters a pop – containers. What a difference from buying six-packs of 1.5 litre plastic bottles every other day…
Have a lovely summer season here in town, enjoy this magnificent resort!