Turkey started 2019 with a ban(g)… There was an uproar from some sides and cheers from other as the 1st of the year saw the introduction of a new ruling banning stores from handing out free carrier bags.
Warning of the implementing of the rule was touted in several newspapers, and online news feeds but no one seemed to take much notice. Then all we saw in the first few days were broadcasts of shocked shoppers reluctantly handing over 25kr to the clerk when they purchased their groceries or a new outfit.
Turkey has an issue with plastic bags, it is not unusual to see a customer having a carrier bag forced on them for a purchase of a single packet of cigarettes and a packet of crisps. And in the supermarket being handed a large pile of them from the cashier irrelevant of how much you’ve put onto the convey belt is the norm.
In saying that it must be noticed that as you walk through the streets of any town/city in Turkey and you will see several people re-using sturdy carrier bags to cart their belongings from one place to the other. Delivering pastries and larges trays of desserts for a friend or just to carry slippers from one friend's house to the next.
Most Turks I know reuse carrier bags as bin liners or to store food in the fridge/freezer, but it’s not enough Turkey has a real problem with plastic and recycling. Jane in Mersin recently had me giggling over a plastic bag blog post and quotes the shocking reality that Turkey ranks at 108 (OUT OF 180 COUNTRİES) in the 2018 Environmental Performance Index.
Collecting rubbish in a carrier bag might seem useful but sticking it in a recycling bin would be much better, but what about bringing carrier bag use down to the bare minimum, zero even?!
I got so used to using the bag for life back in the Uk. I had a routine; take in to store. Fill. Put shopping away. Pop them all back into the boot. (clean-tidy-folded). It was so so easy! But it didn’t take me long to get out of the habit here with plastic bags literally flying around me from one shop to the other. Oh and the market shop. It not unusual for me to come home with double figures which I then hurriedly shove in a bag holder and close the pantry door and sigh!
I was using them as bin bags, then I got a new bin they didn’t fit in, so I started collecting a few more, then I had too many. So I shoved them in the big trash can (I know I know ). Then I gathered some more, and more (I used a couple I really did).
Then I got overwhelmed with them falling out of the IKEA bag holder, so I bought another plastic bag holder (Seriously? Why?) – sadly that’s looking kind of full too.
I used a few more bags to cart some food to hubby’s office – they went in the bin! But I collected some more too.
In fact, sometimes I feel like I’m actually drowning in a sea of carriers!
When I knew the rule was coming in, I started to behave a little better – for a while.
Then the rule came in, so I dug out the bag for life-s that I brought over from the UK (yes I actually own some, oops) 2 had broken, and 2 needed a jolly good wash. I know if I’d been in the UK they would replace them for free, but I’m not, so guess what ----yeah they went in the bin!
First time I set off for shopping, I unsurprisingly, 2nd I left them in the car (that’s 8 new bags uuugghhh), but the third I’m proud to say was carrier bag free whoo hoo!
I can do this – I can totally do this! I’ve even found the most delightful project based in Adana that make handmade, reusable shopping bags. YAY! Working with Syrian refugees to gain a livelihood, break out of poverty and become financially independent! DOUBLE YAY!
So I'm ordering my new bag for life this week, and I’m on a mission to get better and get out of this sea of plastic carriers! …..
….. Well, I say that – the Pazar?!?!– have you ever been to a farmers market in Turkey?! That’s a whole different kettle fish. Our pushchair is fabulous on market days – no heavy carrying, no need for a large bag for life-s BUT…..
How do go to each stall, pick my kilo of clementine’s –pass them over to the vendor for weighing and them put them in my bag for life/pushchair?