Istanbul, Turkey recently unveiled awesome new machines that help both the environment and needy animals. Each time a person recycles a plastic bottle in the designated receptacle, pet food is ejected into a bowl at the bottom so hungry stray animals have something to eat.
So far, the machines have been a hit with residents. People who would normally toss bottles in a trash can might wait to carry the plastic a bit longer to dispose of it in the recycling bin now that they know they can assist animals. It’s a win-win scenario that doubles Turkish people’s incentive to do the right thing.
In addition to increasing the local recycling rate, the machine ensures that the unfinished water in bottles doesn’t go to waste either. Before depositing the bottle, users can dump the remainder of their water into a slot, which funnels it into a dish from which animals can drink.
Turkish officials readily agreed to allow Pugedon to set up the machines once the company pledged it wouldn’t cost the government anything. Instead, the company uses the money collected from the recycled materials to purchase more pet food. Pugedon has opted to put up the recycling centers in parks and other public arenas since they are well populated by people with bottles and hungry animals.
In general, the machine raises awareness of the ongoing homeless animal epidemic in Istanbul. An estimated 150,000 stray cats and dogs live in the city. Part of the goal is that when people are reminded of the problem and can do a little something to help out, hopefully they will then feel inspired to do a little more, too, and adopt some of the animals in need.
While feeding the animals is an act of kindness, it’s not a permanent solution for these formerly domesticated animals, many of whom were abandoned by their previous owners on the streets. Currently, Istanbul has a law on the books that allows officials to relocate dogs to the outskirts of the city. This solution is not exactly a “solution,” however, since it just displaces the problem.
Even if the machines don’t solve the problem altogether, it does give starving animals something to eat. It’s certainly better than how some other countries have handled their growing stray animal populations. Both Brazil and Russia have faced major controversy for their inhumane ways of handling street dogs in conjunction with the World Cup and Olympics, respectively.
Pugedon isn’t the only company to try to incentivize recycling. In Beijing, there are machines where commuters can deposit bottles in exchange for subway tokens. Additionally, earlier this year, Care2 compiled a list of “5 Unique Vending Machines” that are both innovative and positive for the world.