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Türkiye’s Zero Waste Project achieves 30% recycling recovery rate



The Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change on Sunday released updated figures on the transformative Zero Waste Project, which has been instrumental in advancing recycling initiatives amid the challenges of climate change in Türkiye.

The Zero Waste Project, initiated six years ago under the auspices of first lady Emine Erdoğan continues to yield positive results, according to the Minister of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Murat Kurum.

With a recycling recovery rate now standing at 30%, the scheme has successfully transformed 45.5 million tons of waste into valuable resources for the country’s economy.

“One by one, we are realizing our goals within the Zero Waste Project – (a project) that goes beyond borders – which we initiated under the auspices of the honorable Emine Erdoğan. We increased our recycling recovery rate by 5% to 30%. We have saved 45.5 million tons of waste to the benefit of our economy. We will increase it to 35% this year,” the minister wrote on his official social media account.

Project contributions

The project, coordinated by the ministry, was first implemented in government offices, with several ministries adopting the scheme by sorting their waste at the source level instead of during random disposal. In six years, the number of buildings and campuses adhering to the practice reached at least 164,000 according to figures from March 2023.

According to ministry data and an infographic shared by Minister Kurum, the country’s recycling rate, which was 13% when the project kicked off in 2017, has increased to 27.2% in 2021 and has touched 30.13% as of 2022.


Since the beginning of the project, 25.4 million tons of paper cardboard, 6.6 million tons of plastic, 2.6 million tons of glass, 0.7 million tons of metal, and 10.2 million tons of organic and recyclable wastes have been processed and injected into the economy.

According to the projections of the ministry, the project has, among others, directly contributed to preserving 432 million trees and saving some 717 million cubic meters (mcm) of water. Similarly, it has also prevented the emission of 4.9 million tons of greenhouse gasses, saving energy amounting to 703 million kilowatt-hours.

The ministry’s written statement pointed out its next goal of bringing the recycling recovery rate to 35% in 2023, and to 60% by 2035.

Zero waste path

In 2017, under the auspices of first lady Emine Erdoğan, Türkiye launched the Zero Waste Project to highlight the importance of eliminating waste in fighting the climate crisis.

The project has drawn international praise, with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressing his gratitude to Türkiye’s first lady during a conference in New York last September.

Last December, the U.N. General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on a zero waste initiative presented by Türkiye declaring March 30 as the International Day of Zero Waste, which was observed for the first time this year.

According to World Bank, an average of 0.74 kilograms of waste is produced per person, on a daily basis, worldwide. This value ranges from 0.11 to 4.54 kilograms. As of 2022, an average of 82% of municipal waste is collected worldwide and 55% is sent to waste treatment facilities.


Also, food loss and food waste have significant environmental, social, and economic consequences. Discarded food accounts for 8% to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

In this context, zero waste plays a crucial role in maintaining a sustainable world order.

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Source: Daily Sabah

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