05/18/2011 04:35

Teams go door-to-door distributing buckets as part of wider environmental project to reduce landfill mass.
Talkbacks (2)

Waste separation specialists are going door-to-door in Ra’anana distributing small brown garbage cans and teaching residents how to properly separate their wet and dry waste, part of a larger waste separation initiative beginning across the country.

Currently in the second week of a three-week launch stage of the project, guides have already visited about 2,600 of 3,500 households in the city to distribute information and the brown seven-liter wet garbage bins in select neighborhoods – though around half of the residents were not home and received colorful door-hangers with promises of return.

The municipality describes dry waste as “packaging, containers, etc.,” and wet waste as “food scraps.”

Ra’anana, however, is just one municipality among 48 that are in the process of enacting waste separation programs, part of a NIS 350 million nationwide effort championed by the Environmental Protection Ministry to reduce landfill waste.

“Ra’anana and all the rest are waiting for the money and the minute we receive the OK from the Treasury; we are going to give them the money,” an Environmental Ministry spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post.

The city of Ra’anana is proud to be one of the “pioneer cities implementing the program,” it said in a statement. Wet and dry waste separation matches “the municipality’s policy of working with a deep commitment to environmental protection and improving the quality of life of the residents both in the present and for the future generations,” it said.

Ra’anana’s pilot phase doorto- door effort is being managed by a team from the companies Manpower Business Solutions and Milgam, which previously worked together in a project to distribute devices to monitor water usage to 1.5 million houses around the country.

“We know how to approach the public in a door-to-door method, and we strongly believe and most of the municipalities share our belief that this is not a sales project – it’s an educational project,” Ofir Gilboa, director of business development at Milgam, told the Post in an interview on Monday.

“You need to convince people and get them to change their habits. You can’t allow yourself to be passive and just put some brochures in the mailboxes and wait for people to come with you. You really need to go from house to house, knock on the door and get very active and personal so the connection to the project from the residents side will be personal too,” Gilboa said.

The team has been working five days a week and has visited about 250 households per day, aiming to cover areas “very efficiently” and meet the municipality and ministry’s demands,” according to Gilboa, who noted that 90 percent of household garbage currently goes straight to landfills.

In addition to the small household wet bins that select Ra’anana families are receiving, large brown wet bins similar in size to the green bins already present all over the country will be placed along streets and inside apartment complex garbage rooms, he said.

“We’re getting a very good reception,” Gilboa said. “I have to say it’s in great part due to the very good work of the municipality in publicity all across the local media, as well as to our experience in knowing how to… persuade people who don’t want to participate.”

The team will issue detailed reports to the municipality at the end of this first stage, so that the city can decide on changes in the subsequent stages.

“The second stage should be about September or October this year – you can’t really do the whole city at once because there are lot of different elements that need to be changed,” Gilboa said, noting that Manpower Business Solutions and Milgam hope that other municipalities will also want their services. “The other cities are waiting for the budget to be approved. After the budget is approved we should see tenders come out.”

Both residents and the city of Ra’anana have expressed satisfaction with the door-to-door visits.

“They actually came one night and I couldn’t see them, so they came the next night – a really nice girl came,” resident Rosemary Silbert said. “She explained the difference in the separation. They brought in the little brown bucket and explained the purpose of how to use it.

“It was very informative, very pleasant,” Silbert said. “I’ve always been interested in recycling – I think it’s very important for the planet and for the country. I think the city has gone about it very efficiently and in a very professional way.”

The city sees children as particularly important in implementing the waste separation process in their homes.

“All the guides who visited homes with children noted that the message of separation at source was accepted unequivocally and clearly, and that the children function as first-rate ‘agents of change,’” the city said.

Ra’anana will hold a launch ceremony for the project at Hayovel Elementary School on May 26, which will be attended by Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan and Mayor Nahum Hofree.