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ISTANBUL – Turkey aims to increase its textile recycling rate to 35 per cent over the next five years as part of an ambitious new waste management initiative. The Turkish Government is extending its wide-ranging ‘Zero Waste’ campaign to textiles and clothing in response to concerns that 2,500 tons of clothes and fabric and similar leftovers from textile production currently go to waste in the country. Public-private sector partnerships will see used clothes destined for landfill collected as part of a nationwide campaign. Some will be placed into the second-hand market, while others are recycled as fabric. The government is also setting up facilities to obtain cotton, wool and other materials from dumped clothes. The moves are designed to bring Turkey into line with other, more progressive members of the EU on waste management issues.

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The Zero Waste Campaign was actually initiated by first lady Emine Erdoğan in 2017 but has only now been extended to cover textile products, as well as food products. The Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, which oversees the massive recycling campaign, will also focus on the recycling of food and unused, old or faulty textile products. The initiative is been run by the Turkish Red Crescent, the country’s leading charity, which will oversee efforts for food and textile recycling.

Red Crescent President Kerem Kınık said: “We are preparing a report for necessary regulations for transforming the country for food and textile recycling. In the end, tons of food and clothes which go to waste will return as a benefit to the Turkish economy,” he said.

Kink said the moves will involve a partnership between public and private companies to establish a waste collection system for collecting excess food and textile products.

He added that recycling would not be limited to textiles and they are considering adding furniture, carpets and home appliances to the recycling chain.

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