By Margaret Sheard….
A supermarket with a difference
When I came to live in the TRNC almost 12 years ago, there was a limited number of large supermarkets but now there are many more and a latest addition is the Şah Marketplace in Çatalköy. This is a store with a difference as the owners have a passion about re-cycling for the benefit of the environment and future generations.
We have heard visitors to our beautiful part of the world complaining about the amount of rubbish which is strewn around and we would agree that this is a major problem, however, it is for the inhabitants of the island to start taking pride in what we have and making a joint effort to show the world what a paradise we are living in and the family of Şah are doing just that.
The Şah Marketplace has been open for just a couple of months but their recycling plant – Greenwise Environmental Ltd, in Lefkoşa, has been operational for some 3 years and we will be visiting soon to see how they deal with newspapers, plastic and aluminium/metal cans, just a small part of the huge amount of waste littering our island but a start at least to combat it.
We had made contact with Fehime Şah and her sister Ziynet and they gave us a tour of the store pointing out the many features of the new building which had used recycled materials in its construction, the tables in the restaurant and outside eating area made from pallets, the in-store aisle signs and hoardings made from re-cycled materials, the concrete floor which does not have an additional covering but has been highly polished, we were told that this was in fact more expensive than using an additional modern layer but the concept is to be environmental. There are many features which show how a beautiful effect can be achieved without using specially manufactured materials. I am sure many people would not even notice all of this but what we saw, when it was pointed out, was very impressive. We wanted to find out more about this very forward looking enterprise and so made an appointment to meet up with Ali Şah the following week.
During our tour around the store with Fehime, she pointed out many of the special items they stock including soap products from Turkey and Italy, household goods and a small area of plants. Şah Marketplace stocks 432 different types of wines and they have a huge selection of cheeses. There is a wide range of hot foods and a salad bar and we noted the large number of people who were taking advantage of having a meal and sitting in the indoor cafe or outside under the umbrellas on the large terrace area. Wherever you walk in or outside the Şah Marketplace there are many collection bins, even in the extensive car park where visitors are welcome to leave their waste material, and near the checkout area, small that they may, be there are recycle bins for domestic batteries.
The store has a large well laid out car park at the rear with disabled parking and mother and child parking, also there are two bus stops which we were told were for visiting tourist coaches. There are very good toilet facilities on an upper floor in the cafeteria area and on the ground floor a disabled and mother and baby facility. Everything has been thought of to make a shopping expedition an enjoyable experience.
The Şah family previously had a small supermarket in Girne and the Coca Cola distribution centre in Çatalköy. They decided to go back to the food retailing business along with their recycling plant and so the Coca Cola building was refurbished to evolve as the new Şah Marketplace which is such an impressive place.
We met up with Ali Şah the following week and he told us his family were originally from Limassol and came to North Cyprus in 1974. In 1990 Ali went to North America, with his two young sons, to continue his education. The new Şah Marketplace is a family run business by Ali, his brother Mehmet, his sisters Fehime and Ziynet and also Fehime’s husband. The family members realise the need for re-cycling in Cyprus to bring it up to the standard of other countries.
Ali and his siblings are passionate about preserving the environment in North Cyprus and Ali wanted to do something beneficial and so the recycling plant was established. The waste products they deal with at the moment are newspapers, including those not sold from the distributors, plastic bottles and bags, aluminium drink cans and metal food cans. At the rear of the Çatalköy store there are bins to collect these products and they are sorted and then taken to the Lefkoşa plant for processing.
As a result of our previous article about recycling, we were asked the question what happens to the waste and we asked Ali this very question. We were told that the recycling plant presses and bales the waste products and it is then exported to South Cyprus. Under the Greenline Trading Agreement this is the route which has to be taken and the bales are sent to one of about 3 processing units in the South and from there the recycled material is exported to Europe, Africa and wherever there is a demand for waste material to be manufactured into new products. Ali said that for every ton of paper which they recycle, 20 adult trees are saved. Currently the Şah recycling company are in the process of installing new machinery which will give a larger and more efficient capacity. Unfortunately at this time it is not possible to recycle glass due to the type of processing required.
We spoke of the general world problem of waste materials littering the countryside and seas and oceans and Ali referred to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, of course people complain about the amount of rubbish, not only in North Cyprus, but worldwide and we must all realise that this is created by the human race and it is up to us to do something about it.
In North Cyprus, maybe at the moment a very small drop in the ocean, the Şah family are setting a trend which we hope will go from strength to strength and at least have an effect on this small paradise which is Cyprus.
So what can we do to help? We can of course recycle our rubbish. It is not a huge task, empty aluminium cans and metal food cans (rinsed, labels removed and flattened), old newspapers, and of course the plastic water and liquid containers of which there are so many nowadays. Ali emphasised a point with regard to plastic containers where they are discarded as they are with tops on and he stressed that what we are doing is throwing away AIR. These bottles will not always crush and so it is important to remove the caps which can be collected as a separate recycling item. These processes are very simple and take seconds to do so if everyone does their bit maybe future generations will not live in an environment of countryside and sea being a plastic world.
North Cyprus has a long way to go but with the foresight of a company which wants to create an environment to be proud of at least something is being done and it is up to us, the human race, to do what we can to help the process. Ali told us that in September he is hoping to be able to invite schoolchildren from local schools to educate them in matters of the environment and recycling and in turn they will educate their parents. This is a good place to start, with the young generation being educated to respect and appreciate what they have in this beautiful part of the world.
One last word on the efforts of Şah Marketplace to recycle, when you do your shopping with them they provide plastic bags to take your purchases away in. They also offer a heavy duty cloth bag for 3TL of which the total 3TL taken is donated equally to 3 charities:
- Kyrenia Animal Rescue
- Green Action Group
- Cyprus Turkish Orthopedic Disabled Association
On your next visit to Şah Marketplace with your new bag don’t forget to take back your plastic bags and place them in the recycle bin at the entrance. Thank you.
See more pictures in the following slideshow.