Nehama Ronen, director of ELA Recycling Corporation, says Israelis have reached record results in terms of plastic recycling

Navit Zomer
Published: 09.15.11, 16:43 / Israel Activism

Share on TwitterShare on Facebook

Nehama Ronen, director of ELA Recycling Corporation, is praising Israel’s ultra-Orthodox residents for their recycling efforts.

“The haredim have begun recycling too,” she told Yedioth Ahronoth. “Impressive amounts of plastic bottles are being collected in Jerusalem’s haredi neighborhoods. Even Bnei Brak residents are recycling like in Tel Aviv and Kfar Saba. Last year we placed 400 recycling bins in the city with the municipality’s help – and the recycling rate is amazing there.”

Successful Venture
Recycling on rise in Arab towns / Yael Darel
Statistics indicate 55% increase in recycling bins across country, including in Arab communities. Environmental Protection Ministry promises to expand plan by 2013 to over 15,000 bins
Full story

According to ELA, 40% of all 1.5-liter plastic bottles (some 280,000 bottles) were recycled in Israel in 2010 – a 10% rise compared to the previous year.

Ronen estimates that the recycling rate will soon reach 50%, justifying the construction of a factory for the production of plastic bottles containing 40% recycled raw materials.

According to Ronen, “We always feel inferior in regards to the world, but when it comes to recycling plastic we have reached record results. In the past two years, the public has started bringing 1.5-liter bottles to the recycling bins, even though they do carry a deposit.

“This is also thanks to soft drink companies’ NIS 25,000 ($6,800) investment in recycling bins placed all across the country. Today there is not a single community without recycling bins.

“Children in Israel have an advantage over their parents in two areas: Internet use and recycling. Children demand that their parents recycle. They educate their parents on this issue, and its starts with recycling education in school and kindergarten. Talking from experience, a school that recycles leads to a house that recycles.”

מתקן מיחזור ברחובות.”כיום, אין ישובים ללא כלובים” (צילום: אבי מועלם)

Recycling bin in Rehovot (Photo: Avi Mualem)

So the Israeli public has begun caring about the environment?

“Yes, people have started to care. After all, even without receiving a deposit back, there is a sharp rise in the willingness to voluntarily bring the bottles to the recycling bin. It has to do with the public’s general involvement, as we have seen in the social protest.”

What about glass bottles?

“That’s the most difficult area. We collect 60,000 bottles a year, mainly wine and some mineral water, and in the meantime it’s mainly at our expense. Clearing glass costs us NIS 100 ($27) per ton, but it’s worth nothing because there’s no demand for recycled glass…

“For plastic, on the other hand, we received $300 per ton from the recycling factories.”

The entire issue of collecting bottles is linked to organized crime, which took over this field and turned it into another source of income.

“That used to be true. Criminal organizations took control of the bottles and collecte3d the deposit. The situation has changed since then thanks to moves launched by the police, including arrests.

“In addition, we collect bottles from businesses which have contacted us. Aroma, Israel’s biggest café chain, has decided that its workers will sort and separate packages. We clear them and the revenues are also dedicated to the employees’ welfare. The Brasserie restaurant has also begun collecting bottles.”,7340,L-4120273,00.html