12/01/2011 05:57

Environmental Protection Ministry, local authorities to invest in waste-treatment plants that generate bio-gas, fertilizer.
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The Environmental Protection Ministry and local authorities will be collectively investing about NIS 600 million over the next three years in establishing waste-treatment plants that will generate bio-gas, fertilizers and traditional recycled materials, the ministry announced on Wednesday.

The future facilities will treat approximately 8,000 tons of garbage every day, constituting about two-thirds of the country’s total daily municipal waste, according to the ministry.

Of the NIS 600m. total, the ministry will be responsible for 40 percent of the funds, while local authorities will be responsible for the remaining 60%.

The new facilities are expected to save Israelis about NIS 900m. worth of garbage that would otherwise be buried in the land each year, the ministry said.

Waste treatment at the new facilities will occur in two stages, the first of which will involve classifying and sorting the different types of materials, transferring the ones that are obviously recyclable to recycling plants.

“This will increase the quantities of recycled materials and reduce waste,” a statement from the ministry said.

In the second stage, the facilities will focus on treating organic waste components such as food scraps, which constitute about 40% of municipal trash, according to the ministry. These materials will be sent to composting and anaerobic digestion facilities, where they will be transformed into fertilizers and bio-gas.

Meanwhile this week, the ministry also granted approximately NIS 250m. to private entrepreneurs and local authorities to encourage the establishment of 20 new organic waste-treatment plants and transfer stations throughout Israel, according to the statement.

“These facilities constitute a crucial and complementary link to the implementation of separation of waste at source among Israeli citizens,” the ministry said.

The latest efforts to enable waste reuse come under the larger umbrella of the Environment Ministry’s ongoing “separation at source” project, in which the office is currently working with 31 local authorities and providing NIS 350m. worth of funds for urban infrastructure that will enable the placement of two garbage cans for each resident – at home and in the street.

“The world has already understood that waste is a raw material in and of itself,” said Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan in a statement.

“Investing in an industry that will implement the recycling revolution and transform waste from a nuisance to a resource is an economic and environmental interest.

“The establishment of a recycling market and the production of energy from waste will prevent the exploitation of raw materials and natural resources, and thus will significantly reduce economic costs and environmental damage that in the end always roll up the price paid by the consumer.”