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By Linda Stewart

Residents of Istanbul will now be able to use public transport for free in exchange of empty plastic bottles and cans, the mayor said Friday.

Mevlut Uysal announced a new recycling project at a news conference in Istanbul where people will receive free credit on their passenger cards (Istanbul kart) in exchange of bottles and cans.

The municipality’s automated “smart containers” will be able to collect 0.33-, 0.50-, 1- and 1.5-liter beverage cans and bottles.

“Containers will give 0.02 Turkish liras ($0.003) free credits for 0.33-liter bottle, 0.03 liras ($0.0045) for 0.5-liter, 0.06 liras ($0.009) for 1-liter, 0.09 liras ($0.014) for 1.5-liter, 0.07 liras ($0.01) for 0.33-liter can and 0.09 liras ($0.014) for 0.5-liter,” the mayor stated.

The mayor stressed the municipality also planned to reward people, who recycled the most bottles and cans through these containers, with free or discounted municipal services such as theatre tickets.

The containers were manufactured by the municipality’s participant company Istanbul IT and Smart City Technologies Inc. (Isbak), the mayor said.

“So far, we have produced 10 containers and will produce 100 containers within a month.”

Smart containers are cheaper than other recycling and waste collecting systems, he noted.

The containers would be located in underground stations and schools.

The municipality also plans to create new recycling machines for glass and batteries, Uysal said.

First Lady Emine Erdogan said: “As an environment awareness sample, Istanbul Municipality’s Smart Container initiative is remarkable for solid waste management.”

“We can solve our environmental problems with the joint efforts of our citizens and municipalities,” she added.

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