Garbage collectors in Ankara, Turkey, have created a library like no other.
The garbage collectors in the Çankaya district of the capital city began collecting books destined for the landfills, amassing a collection of thousands that was enough to open a public library, reported CNN. Though the garbage collectors have been at it for years, a recent post on X, formerly known as Twitter, has garnered renewed attention.
In Turkey, garbage collectors opened a library with all the books that people threw in the trash.— Goodable (@Goodable) August 3, 2023
The library now has 25,000 books.
Then, they converted a garbage truck into a mobile library that brings books to local schools. pic.twitter.com/yEmjKooa1n
The collection of books was originally only for employees and their families to borrow. But as the collection grew, along with public interest, they decided to open the library in September 2017 that is overseen by the local government.
“We started to discuss the idea of creating a library from these books,” Çankaya Mayor Alper Tasdelen said at the time. “And when everyone supported it, this project happened.”
The library is located in a previously vacant brick factory on the sanitation department grounds and boasts books ranging from fiction to nonfiction, a kids’ section with comic books, and a section dedicated to scientific research. It also has books available in multiple languages.
The library became so popular that residents began donating books rather than throwing them away.
Eventually, the garbage collectors collected so many books, now more than 25,000, that the library couldn’t contain them, so they took the library on the road — literally. The Turkish garbage collectors converted one of their trucks into a mobile library. It delivers books that had been thrown away to libraries and schools in the area.
Saving books from the landfill has a positive impact on the environment.
The mass production of books and newspapers takes 153 billion gallons of water a year, according to Hand Me Down Book Club, along with using various fuels that release harmful pollution to the atmosphere. On top of that, once a book reaches the landfill, it generates double the amount of harmful planet-warming gases than during production and releases toxins into local water systems as it decomposes.
People who saw the post love what the garbage collectors have done.
One person commented: “Love it when people find ways to create joy for others — from basically nothing, except their wits and their hearts. Awesome!”
Another said: “Wow! What a fabulous idea!”
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