Whenever you “recycle” a plastic water bottle instead of throwing it out, you’re helping our planet by letting that plastic be re-used, so we don’t have to make it from scratch again. But it gets even better than that in Istanbul, Turkey: when you recycle you’re also helping to feed stray cats and dogs. Turkish company Pugedon built machines that collect the empty bottles, and when you stick a bottle in there the machine spits out a scoopful of dry food for animals to eat. People can also pour any leftover water into the machine for the animals to drink – after all, cats and dogs get thirsty, too. Stray cats and dogs are a huge problem in Istanbul, with 150,000 of them in a city of about 14 million people, meaning they’re more than 1% of the whole population. The Pugedon machines get people to recycle more and help our fuzzy friends at the same time.
Wee ones: If you get a snack for a cat, a dog, and yourself, how many of you are snacking?
Little kids: If every bottle you recycle makes 2 scoops of food come out, how much food do you give the animals if you toss in 3 bottles? Bonus: If 3 dogs come up to eat, then a cat, then 3 dogs, then a cat again and so on, what’s the 13th animal to come up?
Big kids: If twice as many dogs as cats use the machine, and today 18 animals ate from it, how many cats and dogs was that? Bonus: If there were exactly 14,000,000 people in Istanbul and exactly 1 stray animal for every 100 people, how many stray animals would there be?
Wee ones: 3 “animals.”
Little kids: 6 scoops. Bonus: A dog.
Big kids: 12 dogs and 6 cats. Bonus: 140,000 stray animals.