District 68, is the story of several generations of a family, it’s the story of a whole village... In Istanbul, you have surely noticed them, dragging their handcarts from dustbin to dustbin, constantly sorting through rubbish to find paper, plastic and metal...These are the ragmen of Istanbul, an indispensable part of the sorting and recycling in the biggest city in Turkey. Several hundreds of them work in the depots of Istanbul.
District 68 is where the ragmen of the kucuk pazard (small bazaar) - in the European sector of the city - originally came from; a district in central Anatolia, a small village near the regional capital Aksaray.
Sevinç set up the depot in 1990. Today, his sons and all the men in his extended family, in fact almost all the village, now work at this depot.
They work night and day, as in perpetual motion, gathering any type of recyclable material; cardboard, plastic, paper, metal. Each with his cart, they roam the neighbourhoods. It takes about three hours to fill a sack with recyclables which they take back to the depot for sorting and weighing. Then they set out again, two or three times per day. What they find they can earn them between 20 and 50 euros a day.
District 68; they think about it all the time they are in Istanbul. They even write this number on the walls of the depot and in the neighbourhood. For 2 or 3 months at a time, they leave their wives and children behind in order to earn enough money to return to the village for a month or two to relax, renovate their homes…