10/13/2010 03:19

New public relations campaign to be launched on Sunday; 2500 more receptacles will be placed around the country this year.

Recycling has picked up over the last couple of years and will continue to increase, according to the ELA recycling corporation’s strategic plan unveiled Tuesday. The corporation will invest NIS 25 million more a year to increase the percentages of small and big bottles that are recycled.

By 2014, the company has said they must recycle 50 percent of big bottles and 77% of small bottles. Since the task cannot be achieved overnight, ELA will be increasing its collection percentages every year. ELA acts as the operational arm of the bottling companies in Israel. As a result of the 2014 goal, the companies agreed to increase their contribution to ELA by NIS 25m.

1.5 billion bottles are produced annually in Israel. Consumers can return 700 million bottles for NIS 0.30 under the Deposit Law. No money is available for 800 million bigger bottles, but they can be recycled.

This year, the corporation is set to recycle 72% of small bottles and 28% of big bottles. In order to raise those rates, 2500 more receptacles will be placed around the country this year. An additional 4,000 a year will be placed in the coming years.

The three winning designs of the recent contest to reimagine the receptacles will be deployed next year, ELA CEO Kobi Dar said at a press conference in Tel Aviv. In addition to choosing the designs, the public came up with a word for the recycling receptacles in Hebrew, which will be henceforth known as a “Mihzorit.”

ELA will also be launching a NIS 5m PR campaign to raise awareness, entitled “It’s natural to recycle.” The TV and radio campaign, which will start on Sunday, features two animated plastic bottles going through the recycling factory to become pens, chairs and hangers in an effort to show the public how useful recycling is.

According to public opinion surveys commissioned by ELA, the public is already very enthusiastic about recycling. Fifty percent said they recycled all or most of their bottles. Most of those who didn’t recycle cited the lack of a nearby receptacle. Only 21% said they were too lazy to recycle. Eighty five percent said recycling contributed to protecting the environment.

Recycling was also the leading answer to the question, “what do you do personally to protect the environment?” Recycling was the answer for 38% of respondents, followed by efficient light bulbs at 17%.

Recycling plateaued at 65% of the small bottles a few years ago because of a lack of funds, ELA Chairwoman Nehama Ronen said. However, under the new agreement between the bottling companies and the ministry hammered out earlier this year and with the added funds, ELA can reach all of the cities around the country, including those on the periphery. The goal is to have one receptacle for every 400 people. The average cost of the redesigned receptacles will be NIS 2,500-3,000 each, Dar said.

Bottles are collected by private companies who report their totals to ELA and transport them to two recycling factories, one in Kiryat Atta and one at Ramat Hovav. ELA is also running a pilot program of retrieving bottles from trash at transfer points. There are about 75 small bottles per ton of garbage, which, if collected, would raise collection percentages by 7%.

Meanwhile, Ronen addressed the persistent stories of organized crime families killing each other over collection services.

“We brought the issue up a few years ago, because corporation personnel were being threatened and even beaten. However, since the police stepped in a couple of years ago, the corporation and its employees have been left alone.

“We don’t intervene in the bidding for collection tenders. That is done through the municipalities,” Ronen said. “We cannot do anything to stop the media articles so we have removed ourselves from that angle and do not comment or respond to it.”