Istanbul, Turkey has vending machines selling pet food to feed stray animals while encouraging the public to recycle plastic bottles. This brilliant idea comes from the Turkish company Pugedon, which, according to its website, was founded in 2014 as a social responsibility project. The dispensers are called “Mamamatiks”, which roughly means “vending machines for pets”.
This is how these “Mamamatiks” work: With the vending machine, people can release food for the city’s stray cats and dogs by recycling a plastic bottle. Every time someone drops a plastic bottle into the storage slot, it releases food for animals. The vending machine also provides space for people to empty their water bottles so the animals can drink.
Pugedon chairman Mehmet Akay said curfews and lockdowns in Turkey to contain the coronavirus have made it difficult for stray animals to find food. The vending machines help solve a city-wide problem (Istanbul has more than 150,000 stray dogs on the streets). The units also promote recycling, which has not yet been fully implemented in Turkey.
Urban planners refer to this type of solution as a “win-win” proposal: they encourage the public to recycle, participation is rewarded by feeding the stray animal population, public awareness is raised and engagement is facilitated.
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Further details about the machine itself:
The MamaMatic is roughly the size of an ATM and uses natural energy with the help of a solar panel installed on top. The side walls of the unit contain advertising, educational materials and sponsorship opportunities. The machine also contains technologies that enable analysis of usage and monitoring of food, water and waste levels.
The concept is being exported around the world as a novel approach to recycling and more humane treatment of stray animal populations.