It affects us a lot, we already earn 70-80 TL per day.

A citizen named Uğur Çelik, who makes a living by collecting waste in Aksaray, said regarding the new circular issued by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change, “We are not aware of the new professional code issued by the state. The enactment of such a law affects us a lot, there is no job in the sector anyway. Afghans are also in the sector. “There is no work. Our job is recycling. We are 7 people at home, 2 people are doing this job. We earn 70-80 TL per day,” he said.

The Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change has issued a circular so that waste collectors can work in better conditions. In this context, an “Independent Zero Waste Collector Card” will be given to waste collectors.

After the Ministry’s circular aiming to give a legal status to waste collectors, an ‘Independent Zero Waste Collector Card’ began to be demanded from people who make a living by collecting waste and contribute to recycling.

It was stated that those who want to collect waste from garbage after the circular issued for those who try to make a living by collecting various wastes such as paper, plastic and iron from garbage, should apply to the Provincial Directorates of Environment and municipalities in their province to have a card.

Among the applicants, those whose status is deemed appropriate will be given a uniform by the municipalities with an identity document showing the work permit.


Bekir Amanözdayı from Afghanistan, who continues his life by collecting waste on the streets, said, “We earn 100-150 liras in a day. One day there is work, one day there is no work. There is no job anyway, we have to collect, we collect for the state,” he said.

Demir, a 46-year-old waste collector, said, “The state should give us a salary, let’s not collect it. What to do, there are children at home, it’s hard to make a living. For example, sugar was 300 liras, it became 1,300. What will we live with? A boy and me work, we can’t get along,” he said.

Yaşar, a 43-year-old jewelery collector, stated that they will continue to work as long as the state allows, and said, “We will collect if the state allows. What do we do if he won’t let me? There is nothing, my hand is already crippled. What should we do, our income, our bread is always to collect this waste. Come to our house and see if you tie a dog, it won’t stop. We work from 12 in the morning to 5-6 in the evening. We go out every day, whether the weather is bad or good, summer and winter. Bread money. We don’t have a salary, we don’t have any income,” he said.


A young man named Uğur Çelik (22) said that immigrants also entered the waste collection business and their income decreased:

“I have been doing this job for 4-5 years. Business is moderate. I work 6-7 hours a day. I work on the street every day of the week. We are not aware of the new professional code issued by the state. The enactment of such a law will affect us a lot, there is no job anyway. Afghans also entered the sector, there is no job. What we do is recycling. We are 7 people at home, 2 people are doing this job. We earn 70-80 TL per day. The money we earn in this economy is not enough for the house, everything has become expensive. This is not how it goes, a ‘stop’ has to be said. We couldn’t get anything. 2 thousand 400 per month will be enough for what. We will do this job until we die, we don’t even have a social security. Neither I nor my father have social security.”


Ali Deniz, the owner of the business who buys and sells what the waste collectors bring in Aksaray, said that they have been doing this business for 20 years, but their business has declined since imported waste arrived. Ali Deniz said, “I have been doing this job for 20 years, it is a very good industry. Many people benefit from this sector and eat bread. We only have problems these days. The recycling business is very bad, this is an extreme decline for 10-15 days. Everyone is in trouble, everyone has a cost, a budget. No one sells their scrap right now. No scrap is going to any factory,” he said.


“The scraps imported from abroad affected our domestic market, we are very uncomfortable about this,” said Ali Deniz. We want to learn about it. We haven’t received any related issue. If they say to us, ‘Give us a document’ or ‘Get a document from us, give these documents to the mobile people, so that they can do their job comfortably and collect waste wherever they go’. We have no news, yet. “They came to us first, saying, ‘You need to get a recycling certificate,’ but our workplaces do not comply with any of their articles. It is not suitable for any of my colleagues. I hope I will receive these documents when we move to the new industry,” he said.


Stating that immigrants are improving themselves in the waste business, Ali Deniz said:

“Afghan, Syrian are more everywhere than Turks right now. I can say that they took this job out of the hands of the Turks. Men are more comfortable than us, and there are even those who quit their job because of it. Afghans are everywhere, and no one interferes with it. Friends from the police are coming; ‘This was stolen from here, this was stolen from here’. It’s even played here by me. I used to have one guard, now I’ve increased it to two. It’s being stolen even though I have a guard. The trend of recycling is not looking good at all. Turkey’s most beautiful job and the job with the most contribution. Plastics are worthless without recyclers. It’s all garbage, we revive the garbage. What do we need imported scrap? We call the factories, they answer, ‘We buy it cheaper’. How does scrap come cheaper from Europe? It has a cost. It used to cost 2 thousand TL to go to the factory, now it costs 10 thousand TL. Look at the scrap collected, the money coming; Look what kind of math this is. Everyone is hurt right now. We have not made a loss for 10 days, there are no tradesmen, no one is in a position to take out a loan.”

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