600 Million Shekels Allocated for Waste Recycling and Waste to Energy Facilities in Israel
Ministry of Environmental Protection
In November 2011, the Ministry of Environmental Protection granted 250 million shekels to private entrepreneurs and local authorities for promoting the construction of twenty facilities for the treatment of organic waste and transfer stations for sorting throughout the country. These facilities are a vital and complementing link in the implementation of the separation of waste at source program which has been introduced in Israel.
In total, some 600 million shekels (about $165 million) will be invested in the construction of recycling and waste to energy facilities over the next three years (40% by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and 60% by entrepreneurs/local authorities). The facilities will treat some 8,000 tons of waste per day, about two-thirds of the daily quantity of municipal waste which is generated in Israel.
The facilities include two phases of waste treatment:
- Sorting of the waste into its different components in transfer stations, with recyclables going to material recovery facilities. This will increase the quantity of recycled materials and significantly decrease the quantity of landfilled waste.
- Treatment of the organic fraction of the waste (such as food remnants), constituting some 40 percent of the municipal waste, and its transfer to:
- Compost facilities where the waste will be transformed into fertilizer for agriculture.
- Anaerobic digestion facilities where the biodegradable waste will be fermented to produce biogas for the generation of electricity. The electricity produced in these facilities will be sold to the electricity grid under preferential tariffs.
The new facilities will provide for the treatment of the waste which is separated within the framework of the separation of waste into two streams project, which is spearheaded by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Some 31 local authorities have already joined the project and have received some 350 million shekels of aid for financing a municipal infrastructure which will make two dumpsters available for every resident, in his home and in the street.
The material recovery facilities and transfer stations will receive the waste, sort it and provide for its recycling, thereby saving some 900 million shekels worth of raw materials which were previously landfilled every year.
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan: "The world already understands that waste is a raw material in and of itself. Investing in an industry which will implement the recycling revolution and will transform waste from nuisance to resource is an economic and environmental interest. Establishing a recycling and waste to energy market will prevent unnecessary exploitation of natural resources and raw materials, thereby significantly reducing the economic costs and environmental degradation that are finally borne by the consumer."
Separation of Waste at Source: Facts and Figures
- Some 12,000 – 14,000 tons of mixed waste which originate in local authorities are generated in Israel every day, totaling some 4.4 million tons per year.
- According to forecasts of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the annual quantity of waste increases by 3%-5% every year.
- The quantity of organic waste produced in Israel is estimated at a million and a half tons per year, constituting some 40% of the weight of solid waste in Israel and 10% of its volume. Most of this waste originates in food products, fruits and vegetables, etc.
- According to the estimates of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, some 4,600 tons of municipal organic waste are generated in Israel every day. This waste has a high potential for the production of biogas in renewable energy facilities and for the creation of compost for soil improvement.
The advantages of a separation of waste into at least two streams program include environmental advantages due to the prevention of pollution, the decrease in the quantity of landfilled waste and the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. These environmental advantages are complemented by economic benefits due to the creation of new jobs in the recycling market, savings in resources and reduced costs associated with landfilling.