Although there is an established regulatory programme for recycling of solid wastes in developed countries, improper disposal methods are still broadly adapted in developing countries. Turkey, as an economically developing country, has a number of open dumps in operation. This creates a great risk for the environment and also for human health. However, Turkey's accession to European Union requires compliance with the European Union legislation and therefore there is currently an increasing pressure on the government authorities to develop a sustainable approach to recycling (particularly focusing on plastics) and composting activities and integrate strategies aiming at pursuing sustainable society in Turkey. In this respect, the aim of this paper is to (1) provide a review of existing situation related to municipal waste management system in Turkey and (2) identify the gaps and weaknesses of the system particularly focusing on recycling of plastics. This will aid Turkish cities to form their waste management strategy by promoting recycling activities and also developing countries which are dealing with the similar problems in their waste management mechanism. (C) 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.