Cyprus Mail

First can recycling programme established in the north

By Evie Andreou

After recycling more than 20 million cans and donating over €260,000 worth of medical equipment to the children’s wards at Nicosia’s Makarios Hospital, Cans for Kids charity has overseen the creation of a similar venture by the Turkish Cypriot Cyprus Green Action Group (CGAG).

With this move CGAG has established the first ever can recycling initiative in the north, Teneke Çocuk/Can Kid.
Teneke Çocuk, implemented by CGAG, aims to mobilise the public to collect and recycle their tin cans for the benefit of sick children just like their mentors, and to use the proceeds from the cans they sell to buy medical equipment for children’s wards at hospitals in the north.

“We decided to also use the proceeds from the sale of the cans to help children in need,” said CGAG member Tuğbek Kaya.

“It’s a huge impact on the health services and I’m quite sure that when these guys have a go that the health service there will also benefit” said vice-president of Cans for Kids Rosie Charalambous, referring to the charity’s donation of medical equipment to the children’s wards at the Makarios hospital over the last 24 years.

To recycle used drinks cans all over the island has been Cans for Kids’ vision for quite some time.

The opportunity to do that arose in the summer of 2013 with a call for proposals by EEA Grants that offered funding to Cypriot non-governmental-organisations to carry out bi-communal environmental projects, Cans for Kids secretary Valerie Mavratsas said.

“We felt that [CGAG’s] aim to preserve and protect the island’s natural environment was very much in line with the vision of Cans for Kids,” Mavratsas added.

Under the EEA-funded project Together We Can, the two groups met to develop their ideas and Cans for Kids acted as a mentor for CGAG. “We felt that we could share our knowhow as well as how to avoid the pitfalls,” Mavratsas said.

The mentoring included workshops, seminars and hands-on training by inviting CGAG to help in the sorting out and can crashing process.

They were also encouraged to attend Cans for Kids events and given advice on how to place can collection bins strategically and how to gather support from young people.

Mavratsas said the development of Can Kids is a viable and long term solution to the accumulation of tons of aluminium in our island’s landfills and a win-win situation.

“The environment cannot be divided nor can it be attributed to religion, language or race; it is a whole, and we must protect it because it is everyone’s home,” added chairman of CGAG Doğan Sahir.

He added that CGAG and Cans for Kids managed to create an exemplary partnership.

“Together we have experienced the feeling of enthusiasm, friendship, trust, understanding, solidarity and collaboration for a better environment,” added Cans for Kids chairwoman Olga Demetriades.

Kaya said that CGAG has already set up five collection bins in north Nicosia with the prospect of gradually expanding to other towns. It will sell the cans to raise money for hospitals.

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