The Great Plastic Bag Debate

From 1 January 2019 grocery stores in Turkey are required to charge customers 0.25 Turkish lira (US$0.04) for a single-use plastic bag under new regulations and the Turks have lost their flipping mind over it.

I for one am issuing the seldom given (by me anyway) high five to the Turkish government. It’s the little things that mark the beginning of change unless you are under the gross misunderstanding that climate change is “false news” (insert eye roll here). I personally ditched the single-use plastic bags a long time ago and instead, I seem to have accrued literally hundreds of canvas bags. They’re in the car, in my handbag, under the sink, in the laundry and in Daughter’s school bag. They are in the garden, at my SIL’s and I even have three bags at the local market so they are available for my use (much to the shopkeeper’s mirth but who’s laughing now Mehmet? Huh? Not me, baby!).

recycling 1

Social media has been buzzing (and by social media I mean me because I thought it was hilarious) with photos of genius consumers wheeling wheelbarrows into A101, Teyzeleri washing and reusing their plastic bags, amcaları selling their wife’s mountain-load of bags that she has been saving since 1982 and in an effort to win the Great Plastic Bag War of 2019 one dede even brought his fecking donkey into BIM (which made little sense to me because I usually use the shopping cart when I’m wandering down the aisles). Yes, its all very amusing and even I grasp that we are having a bit of a laugh but the fact is that this regulation is a good thing (despite The Turk having a meltdown when he had to purchase four plastic bags at Migros yesterday – he has never really understood my love of the cloth bag).

Turkey has the abysmal rank of 108 in the 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), produced by the Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy, that analyses the environmental performance of 180 nations so every little step forward does make a difference. Istanbul now has vending machines at metro stations where you can recycle plastic bottles for transport credit. I love this! Here in Mersin, you can recycle your old bottles and every bottle that you recycle will drop pet food into a bowl for the stray dogs and cats in the city. Another great example!

I think the Turks just need a little push in the right direction and I can help with that. See exhibit below.

turkish actor 1

This is Kivanc Tatlitug. He is sizzling hot. If he told me to recycle I would. Plastic bags? Gone. Bottles and cartons? Definitely in the correct bin. Husband? Kicked to the kerb if this is what I could find on my sofa.

So to all the poo-pooing to the single-use plastic bag ban just know that we will adapt. Remember when they banned smoking in restaurants … oh, wait…


Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like-minded people who, like you, love the environment – oh and you also love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.

15 thoughts on “The Great Plastic Bag Debate

  1. I use cloth bags, too, and also saved a few large plastic bags to reuse on occasion when the cloth bags are not big enough (I try to never carry more than one bag per hand).


      • Hubby and I gave up in 1991 and have never looked back. Saying that though, we hate the smell of cigarette smoke now, and avoid smokers wherever possible. If they want to smoke, that’s fine and their choice, and I don;t have to be there!


  2. I’ve been caught out a couple of times when I’ve gone back to the UK. Rather than buy the single-use carrier bags, I’ve shelled out for the sturdier bags for life. Those feckers cost 25p each so I’ve saved them and brought them back to Turkey – guess what I’m using now?! 🙂


  3. They need to go further with the PET and glass bottles and carrier bags, when we visit Fehtiye every year we like to travel about a bit. Everywhere we go there are discarded, (in particular places that most holiday makers are rarely seen) , bottles, carrier bags and fag ends. It’s totally disgusting and very unsightly. Spoiles a fabulous and very scenic country.


  4. Hi Janey! Good to see a post from you (and a like on one of mine earlier, yay!!).
    Could have sworn I put a comment on here.
    We’ve had the 5p charge for plastic bags for a few years now, and it has recently gone up to 10p. One plastic bag company went bust within the first year of the implementation.
    Love the idea of a scoop of food for the stray dogs and cats for every returned bottle.
    Happy New Year to you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s