BLUE CAP PROJECT
What happens to Bottle Caps?
SEBLA KOÇAN Yaşam 10 July 2012- Tuesday
Son birkaç yıldır Türkiye’nin gündeminde olan “Mavi Cover Collection Campaign”nda bugüne kadar 1000’in üstünde engelli, tekerlekli sandalyeye kavuştu. Kampanya devam ederken, toplanan kapakların karşılığında tekerlekli sandalye alamayıp mağdur edildiklerini iddia edenler, “tekerlekli sandalye yok” diyen haberler halen gündemde. Aktüel, “Blue Cap Project”nı başlatan İzmir Ege Üniversitesi Diş Hekimliği Fakültesi’ne gitti; bu kapaklar nerede toplanıyor, nerede işleniyor, ne işe yarıyor, araştırıp izini sürdü.
More than 1000 handicapped have obtained wheelchair up to now in 'Blue Cap Project', which has been on the agenda of Turkey for the last several years. While the campaign continues, those claiming that they couldn't receive wheelchair in exchange for covers collected and were abused, and news claiming that 'there are no wheelchairs' still remain on the agenda Aktüel went to İzmir Aegean University Faculty of Dentistry, which initiated 'Blue Cap Collection Project' and searched and tracked where these covers are collected, processed and what use they have.
While walking on the street, you certainly have noticed those, who grab the covers accumulating in boxes put on curbs and take them in bags, or people, who do not throw away and keep covers after drinking water, and read news about 'cover collection campaign' appearing in the media almost every day.
We decided to examine this issue occupying the agenda for the last few years in İzmir Aegean University Faculty of Dentistry.
Architects of the projects started on May 2010, project coordinator Prof. Dr. Nurselen Toygar and project team responsible Bülent Başoğlu... The idea of cover collection came out of cover collection, delivery to recycle and regaining to the environment project that was implemented by the municipality of Ataşehir for a short time.
The team, which thought 'Let us do it too. Even if we can colelct 100 covers, it is a success.', broke a record at the end of teo and a half years with 300 tons of covers flowing from all around Turkey and five continents from the world. Information provided by the project coordinator Toygar is interesting: 'They broke the Guinness record in Argentina last year with 80 tons. Covers were collected for a hospital and a tool required by that hospital was bought.
We have already broken that record with 300 tons. We have made our official application; we want to have a good name both for our university and Turkey. We will get this work registered. This mutualisation is the work of Turkey. We may have started it but such adoption and spreading is the success of our nation.
Support is raining down on cover collection campaign from many countries of the world from China to USA. Such that they have posters on New York 5th Avenue and announcements in the official of the United Nations. They have never rejected anyone in need of wheelchair. Last, they took action in line with the request from the Embassy of Kosovo in order to send supply to disabled war veterans living there.
Upon the above specified news, we decided to see with our own eyes whether they had wheelchair in the depot as claimed. We went and took photos of the wheelchairs located in the depot of a logistics company in İstanbul Yenibosna with instructions of the Aegean University.
Social media helped a lot
There are numerous unknown or little known facts about cover collection campaign. For example, covers of every color can be collected despite the name 'blue cover'. 'We not only collect blue covers but also covers of drug boxes, washing liquid covers and covers in each color that may come into your mind. They all work' says Toygar. The reason why it is called 'clue cover' is that blue covers outnumber the other colors.
Thus, name of the campaign remained so. However, the reason for collection of covers is that they are smaller than bottle in terms of volume. So they can be collected in larger numbers. According to Nursel Toygar, social media played a big role in spreading of the campaign: 'It has been really helpful for us for reaching abroad in particular. This has now become a world project.' she says.
Toygar underlines that Aegean University has no financial gain, no financial contribution can be made to the project and no sponsorships are available: 'This is a project pursuing no profit or interest. We just want cover. We neither want financial aid nor sponsorships in any way. The reason why people collect covers with enthusiasm and jot derives from the trust on the project. Old man, women, even people with no money for transportation cover and bring us covers' he says.
Not only citizens, but also GSM operators, airway companies, sports clubs, legal authorities such as Turkish National Assembly and the Ministry of External Affairs, some deputies, storekeepers and restaurants have also supported the campaign. Moreover, Governate of İzmir sent last year a notice to all schools in order for them to collect covers. What surprised them most was the aid that was made by citizens in Van immediately after the earthquake. They were very happy when covers arrived from soldiers and prisons.
While Toygar are speaking these words, helpful citizens are coming to the depot within the faculty with bags in their hands and give the covers they collected to the university. 'Think like this; covers collectected up to now cover the campus of the Aegean University entirely and forms a 5 m wall...' Toygar and his team invited 68 handicapped to the university in order to give them their wheelchairs when after they had collected the first 10 tons of cover and delivered them before the public and press.
'However their arrival was hard, so we did not do the same for next ones and started delivery to their homes. Companies gave voluntary assistance to us regarding that matter' says project responsible Bülent Bağoğlu and adds: Tansaş, Migros, Gürman and Kipa are also supporting us and many covers arrive from these stores within İzmir. Antalya, Adana and Mardin are among places from where the highest number of covers arrive. Many covers also arrive from people via mail and cargo. There are certain collection areas in every city.
We negotiated with centres, Migros and Tansaş declared 800 stores in the Aegean Region and 1120 stores in the Mediterrenean Region as collection area. Kipa is gathering covers in its own AVMs and performing delivery to us via its own cargo. There are also Gümüşsu stores, with which we have protocol; they support us with their logistics and stores.'
The city that has shown the most attention to the campaign is İzmir. 'People jog in Karşıyaka seaside in the mornings. They drink water, collect covers in their hands and leave at certain points. They are delivered here or to the recycling company through their municipalities.' says Başoğlu. There have been pleasing sides of the echoing of the project in Turkey. 'Our handicapped have become social individuals and started to seek their rights.
Much support has been given by primary educational institutions and kindergartens, those children have also learned social responsibility. No one used to have an idea about protecting the environment, we have also took an important step regarding this issue' says Nurselen Toygar and adds: 'Turkey has put its signature in a world project, whose thesis is being written and seminars are being organized now: 'People have learned to open their hearts and banded together for a single job after a long time....'
'THERE IS NO GRAIN OF TRUTH IN THE NEWS THAT APPEAR'
We asked the team, which realized the project, about news that appeared concerning the fact that 'wheelchairs are not given in exchange for covers'. The answer we took from Toygar was challenging: 'These people did not come to us, i.e. the Faculty of Dentistry. These news are created in order to sabotage the project.... There is nothing we hide, everything is clear. Words fly away, action remains.
Of course there may be cracked voices in such matters. People are not that aware. They just look at the news and say 'They collected that amount of covers and didn't give...' For them, neither the institution name nor people matter. But people, who made such claims, have no relation to us. If they had applied us, we would have given them wheelchair already. However, we will find these people through those that made those news and they will be given wheelchairs as many as they want.'
WHAT USE DO THESE COVERS HAVE?
After collected in the depot of the university, covers are loaded in trucks and delivered to the first major recycling company, EgeÇev-Muzaffer Pınarbaşı Recycling Solid Waste Facilities. They sometimes do not even stop by the university and are headed to the facility. We have asked the facility manager Ergin Erdinç about what we wonder.
How are these covers exposed to recycle?
These covers are high density polyethylene. However there are also other types among them. The most fundamental point of recycling is that the original material is returned to. A waste, which comes quite close to the original material, appears. Covers enter our company as waste and leave as raw material .
Where is this raw material used most?
Mostly in frames. I mean cases used for bread or various plastic frames. These frames are also used, which means covers are recycled and start to serve us in another area. It means both financial gain and less damage to the environment. Cover is already homogenous material. When you select the magnitude of the cover broken, it can easily enter injection without any treatment. Our customers buy clean and neat material from us. As a result, everyone is satisfied of that.
Then what about after the process is finished?
Material arrives, enters our scale and is weighed. We keep record of what arrives and report to both the sender and the Aegean University. We individually keep record of them. We do not want this project to be infamized even a little.
How did the wheelchair company get in contact with Otto Bock?
Aegean University aided us only about cover collection. We put our heads together with them for the next step and selected S1 model of German originated Otto Bock. Aegean University negotiated with foundations for handicapped and conducted a research. As a result of that, we signed a protocol. 250 kilos of cover are required for one Otto Bock brand wheelchair at a market value of approximately 700 TL; that means around 75000-250000 covers according to type. When such amount is collected, wheelchairs are prepared, we even grant one wheelchair in every three.