Nusratlı Village, Çanakkale

 

Today we are attacked by a huge amount of information and suggestions for a more conscious living. It is either printed as a book standing on our shelves, posted on a Facebook profile, shared by a YouTube video.. We agree that it is better to live more eco-friendly, to reduce our ecological footprint, to consume less industrial, more fairtrade products and so on. The information is there, but is it really easy to pick the correct alternative and give it a try?

Eco-friendly living is becoming an obligation rather than a good suggestion. Although sometimes, it seems to be possible to easily get lost in all this information and to feel upset that you are doing nothing to be a part of the change.

Doğa Association has identified Ida mountains and the Gulf of Edremit region as one of the important nature areas in the Marmara Region. The wastewater of olive oil factories, hotels and individuals is discharged to streams, rivers and the Gulf without adequate treatment. Moreover, the biodiversity of the region is endangered by several -planned and operational- gold mining and coal-fired thermal power plant projects.

Clean Future Association (TEGEL) was established to carry out projects focusing on the user behavior. The aim is to first raise awareness for eco-friendly, ecological, fair and sustainable products, and then make these products accessible in cities. The project, implemented in partnership with Nusratlı Village Culture, Tourism and Solidarity Association in Ida Mountains and Edremit Gulf region at the west coast of Turkey is an example to this goal.

Practical, eco-friendly alternatives for petrochemical based cleaning products

In the scope of the project “Homemade Nature Friendly Cleaning Products”, supported by the GEF Small Grant Programme (SGP), a “do it yourself” kit that encourages the user to prepare nature friendly cleaning products at home by themselves was designed with the aim to present a practical and economical alternative to the expensive petrochemical based commonly used cleaning products.

 

Nature friendly raw materials were used in the creation of the kits: sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, soft soap, soap powder and glycerin. These materials have a simple chemical formula which can be treated easily at the city wastewater treatment plants, unlike petrochemical based ones which tend to accumulate and increase the oxygen demand of the streams and seas. Using these ingredients, DIY kits can be used to create for washing machine powder, stain remover and cleaning creme.

 

Focusing on gender equality

The DIY kits were produced by women living in the Nusratlı village in Çanakkale. These past 10 years, they were selling home-made cheese, herbal teas, spices, olive oil, hand crafted textiles marked by their names in the association shop located in the village. Each of them made similar products alone and did not collaborate in the process. This project changed this and brought them together to produce the DIY kits. If the kits start to go into shelves in supermarkets, the project will be carried on by the women in the village and create an important income source for them.

 

 

After the production of the first batch, 400 do it yourself kits will be distributed to 100 men and 300 women for evaluation. Each of the evaluators will fill in a before and after test. These tests will be examined in order to create the last version of product label, explanation text and the design before reaching out to the customers in the market. Several workshops will be organized in the region, where the contributors will discuss nature friendly cleaning, endangered biodiversity, water scarcity and raise awareness for eco-friendly way of living. Moreover, it will be strongly emphasized that cleaning is not only women’s responsibility but all of the family members. DIY kits were designed from a gender equality approach and aim to engage the interest of the whole family.

At the end of the project, the hope is that these products are sold at the shelves of shopping centers at a spot closer to the food and beverages rather than petrochemical detergents. Hopefully, the whole family will enjoy preparing their cleaning products easily using these DIY kits.

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