One problem facing the ministry in making its decision is a lack of data on the recycling of such bottles today.
Zafrir Rinat Jul 27, 2016

The Environmental Protection Ministry will decide in the next few months whether to encourage the recycling of large beverage bottles (1.5 liters and larger) by requiring a deposit when they are sold, or instead to oblige the recycling corporations to collect and recycle the large bottles – without requiring a deposit.

One problem facing the ministry in making its decision is a lack of data on the recycling of such bottles today. Smaller bottles include a 30 agorot (8 cents) deposit.

The present Deposit Law requires beverage manufacturers to voluntarily collect about 55 percent of all large bottles. This is mostly done through the large recycling cages set up around the country by the ELA Recycling Corporation, which is owned by the Israeli beverage companies. Accoording to the law, the environmental protection minister may decide to impose deposits on the large bottles, as well, if the manufacturers do not meet the recycling goal.

In order to estimate how many of the large bottles should be recycled without a deposit, the Ministry first needs to know if ELA has met its recycling target set in the law. ELA says it has already met its target, but the ministry has so far avoided stating it has received the necessary data.

Previous Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabai, who resigned two months ago, said explicitly before he left that he had doubts about the data supplied by ELA. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is now the acting environmental protection minister.

The Israel Union for Environmental Defense (Adam Teva V’Din) said in a recent position paper that the data on voluntary recycling does not match that of similar programs in Europe and is prone to manipulation. The paper was presented as part of the recent process of public hearings on the issue, which ended three weeks ago.

Those who doubt the official figures estimate the real recycling level is in the range of 20-30 percent. The IUED said it expects the ministry to act responsibly and establish a reporting system that can be verified.

Nehama Ronen, the chairwoman of ELA, said this week that the company stands behind the figures. “We collect large beverage bottles in significant quantities,” she said, insisting that, with the inclusion of bottles collected from municipal waste disposal collection centers, ELA has reached the 55 percent target.

Ronen added that ELA and the ministry had agreed on a method for evaluating the percentage of large bottles that are recycled, and that ELA had even planned to hire a company to conduct such a survey. The ministry has yet to decide whether to participate in the survey, she said, though ELA intends going ahead with it.

ELA’s position is that a deposit is not necessary and voluntary recycling is adequate.

The Environmental Protection Ministry said it had asked for reports on the manufacturing and collection of large bottles. “The figures were received by the ministry and they are now being examined and analyzed,” it said
read more: