Recycling Grows Through National Initiatives (Israel)

BioCycle August 2006, Vol. 47, No. 8, p. 54

Waste disposal officials in Israel report an increase to 20 percent in 2004, with a 50 percent recovery rate forecast by 2010.

EACH PERSON in Israel generates 1.6 kilograms (kg) of waste per day, reports the Environment Ministry’s Solid Waste Division. Total quantity of residuals from municipal and industrial sources is 5.8 million tons annually. The goal is to recover resources through recycling to be returned to the economy as raw materials.

According to a 2006 issue of the Warmer Bulletin, Environment Minister Shalom Simhon has stated that recycling rates in Israel continue to rise – from three percent in the beginning of the 1990s to about 20 percent in 2004. With the joint efforts of government ministries and local government, it should be possible to reach a 50 percent recovery rate in 2010.

Simhon notes that recovery rates should continue to increase when a landfill fee is imposed, reflecting the true costs of landfilling, and when advanced treatment methods such as recycling and energy facilities are further developed. Waste Generation Statistics, based on data received from landfills, transfer stations and recycling plants in Israel, provide some salient data. Local authorities with the highest rates of waste per capita are: Savion – 4.59 kg waste/inh/d; Eilat – 3.02 kg waste/inh/d; Tiberias – 3.02 kg waste/inh/d; and Tel Aviv – 2.73 kg waste/inh/d.

The Division will continue to promote an integrated waste treatment policy based on reduction at the source, reuse, recycling, energy recovery and landfilling. In parallel, it aims to advance the treatment of construction and demolition waste with the purpose of transforming it from nuisance to resource.

MUNICIPAL WASTE FLOWS
Waste quantities in Eilat are higher than average (3.02 kg), probably due to the waste generated by the numerous hotels and large numbers of tourists. This trend has continued for the past three years. Waste quantities in Tel Aviv have declined over the past five years, from 3.27 kg in 2000 to 2.73 kg in 2004, a trend that indicating a decrease in consumption.

Waste quantities generated in Jerusalem and Beersheba have remained nearly identical over the past five years – about 1.25 kg per capita in Jerusalem and 1.7 kg per capita in Beersheba. The lowest reported quantities of waste are in the Bedouin sector in the Negev – Rahat – 0.32 kg; Keseifa – 0.36 kg; Hura – 0.39 kg; Arara – 0.43 kg.

In 2004, about one million metric tons of waste were recycled in Israel, mostly at the country’s eight sorting and recycling plants. Some 110 local authorities take part in recovery and recycling efforts, contributing to the conservation of Israel’s limited land resources. Some 45 million beverage containers (1.5 liters and more) were collected by a private recycling company and 303 million containers (under 1.5 liters) were collected under Israel’s national Deposit Law.

Last December, the Israel Knesset approved the Waste Tyre Recycling Bill, with the aim to regulate the disposal and recycling of waste tires in such a way as to prevent environmental degradation and save raw materials. According to Environment Ministry data, over two million tires become waste in Israel each year. Although business licensing conditions to garages stipulate that used tires should be transferred to authorized waste disposal sites, most find their way to open spaces and illegal waste sties where they are associated with pest proliferation, uncontrolled fires, landscape blight, and water pollution.

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