Small, medium local authorities out-perform large cities in waste separation.

More Israeli municipalities are launching waste separation-at-source programs, encouraging residents to separate their trash into wet and dry streams at home.

There has been a 63 percent rise in number of households participating in the effort between 2013 and 2014, according to a report published on Thursday.

The study, authored by a team led by Gilad Ostrovsky, head of the Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense) waste and recycling division, provides a status report on the integration of waste separation- at-source programs into household behavior in Israel. The report has been published under the auspices of the international Reducing Biowaste and Composting Conference held at Tel Hai College on Thursday. Adam Teva V’Din, MIGAL Research Institute, the Upper Galilee Regional Council and the SCOW (Selective Collection of the Organic Waste in Tourist Areas) EU initiative sponsored the conference.

In 2014, the number of households separating their waste at source increased by approximately 63%/ This amounts to 310,434 households in 43 local authorities.

About 3.5 million people in the local authorities are participating in the effort, and about 56% of them take part in the waste separation- at-source program.

The report’s authors estimate that about a quarter of domestic organic waste is now being separated at source in Israel. The leading local authorities separate half of their organic waste.

“These are definitely encouraging results,” the report said.

The average amount of organic waste collected is approximately 2,707 tons per month, a 30% rise since June 2012. Most of the sorted waste goes to compost and anaerobic digestion facilities.

The researchers’ conclusions were drawn from Central Bureau of Statistics population data, information from the Environmental Protection Ministry, and responses to questionnaires and other communications with local authorities participating in the program.

The towns that excelled in compliance with the program were small and medium- sized local authorities, rather than larger cities like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, the findings showed.

The local authorities with the greatest success were Megiddo, Rosh Pina, Ofakim and Misgav; these towns achieved nearly 100% separation rates. Trailing them closely were Ra’anana, Shoham, Givat Brenner, Kfar Saba, Mateh Asher Regional Council, Savyon, Afula, Golan Regional Council and Ness Ziona.

Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were the bottom three performers, all falling below 5%, with Jerusalem the worst of the three.

Looking at rankings based on quantity of waste separated so far in 2014, the top performers were Ashdod (57,673 tons), Kfar Saba (32,000 tons), Ra’anana (22,000 tons), Modi’in-Macabbim- Reut (17,000 tons), Hadera (13,500 tons) and Afula (13,100 tons) as.

In addition to the 43 local authorities currently in the program, about 20 more are planning waste separation- at-source programs.

Meanwhile, funds generated from landfill levies support the creation of separation- at-source programs and waste-treatment facilities.

Many of the challenges facing waste separation- at-source programs are organizational and economic because the process will require a realignment of the waste-treatment chain. In addition, a change in attitudes and habits on the part of residents is necessary to realize successful outcomes.

Other challenges lie in the separation process per se, as residues of inorganic substances in less-than-carefully separated organic piles hinders a successful operation, said the report. It is therefore crucial to convey the importance of performing quality separations to residents.

Frequent quality surveys will also be needed.

As well as boosting separation-at-source in homes, waste separation will be critical in commercial settings, as this waste constitutes a significant portion of the country’s overall trash, the report said. Neighborhood composts is another type of waste that is difficult to quantify.

Measure to evaluate effectiveness relative to investment will also be needed.

The’ final recommendation is that the Environmental Protection Ministry make all waste-collection data from local authorities available to the pubic. Such a move “encourages transparency and openness among the authorities, [facilitating] growth and raise[ing] awareness about events in the field,” they concluded.

Adam Teva V’Din and the ELA recycling corporation announced the most outstanding plastic-bottle recyclers for 2013 at the Reducing Biowaste and Composting Conference Thursday.

Kfar Shmaryahu was the local council with the highest recycling rate per inhabitant, averaging about 132 bottles or 5.53 kg. of plastic per person. The regional council with the greatest total recycling figures was Jezreel Valley Regional Council.

It collected about 245,000 bottles, or 103 tons of plastic, according to data from ELA.

All in all, Israel’s average per capita bottle-recycling rate for 2013 was 1.26 kg. of plastic, equivalent to about 29 bottles, the company added.

“Today, every three-yearold knows what it is to recycle, and understands the enormous importance of the subject and brings it to the agenda of their family members,” said ELA chairwomen Nehama Ronen, including “…not only … residents of big cities, but … hundreds of communities all over the country who take an active part in the revolution of recycling….”