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Recycling station dispenses food for stray animals

| August 7, 2014

This one is short but awfully sweet. In Istanbul, Turkey, they’re giving new meaning to “puppy love.” The city is home to 14 million people and an astonishing 150,000 stray dogs and cats. They’ve come up with an ingenious way to support the four-legged population while encouraging the two-legged population to make more earth-friendly choices.

The concept? A public recycling station that dispenses pet food (“kibbles”) when people drop in a plastic bottle for recycling. We suppose you could use it to generate a snack for your own pet when you’re out for a walk, but the intended purpose is to provide food for the many stray cats and dogs.

recycling station

A stray cat in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. From Brian Gratwicke.

The machine is set to dispense a specific amount of food per recycled bottle. An attached water reservoir enables passersby to empty out the rest of their plastic bottles before recycling them. Thus, Fido and Kitty can have a drink along with their meal.

The receptacle is self-funded, because the funds produced from the recycled bottles can (theoretically) cover the cost of the food.

It’s worth noting that not everyone is feeling “wild” about the concept. Some people have expressed concern that feeding strays only encourages breeding to utilize the supply. Then again, others contend that providing food is a preferable alternative to letting them starve.

One thing that everyone can agree on? A public recycling station with a visible outcome is a really compelling concept. It’s one thing to make a conscious effort to seek out a public recycling receptacle and trust that you’re doing your part to make a difference in the world. It’s quite another to receive visual, concrete, and immediate confirmation of your contribution.

Plus, this type of receptacle is much more of a novelty than the ubiquitous public trash containers, so its very existence promotes recycling awareness.

We’d be interested to see other variations on this concept. What else could a receptacle dispense or do in exchange for recycled bottles?

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Category: Recycling programs

About the Author ()

Ellen Hunter Gans has been writing for RecycleReminders since the blog’s inception. She is passionate about words, new media and, of course, recycling.

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