Hiriya
Hiriya at night. That isn't a tel. It's a garbage dump being turned into a huge park. Photo by Alon Ron
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The cornerstone of a new innovative garbage treatment facility at the Hiriya landfill is to be laid Monday. The facility will feature sorting facilities for recyclables and also have the capacity to generate energy from some of the Tel Aviv area's refuse. The NIS 400 million project is slated to be up and running in about a year and a half.

The Hiriya site is dominated by a high, flat landfill mound that is clearly visible east of Tel Aviv, on the road to Ben-Gurion International Airport. A small electricity generating plant is already in operation there using organic refuse as fuel. The new facility, a so-called refuse-derived fuel plant, will expand that capacity and make it available to the Nesher cement factory in Ramle. Part of the Hiriya landfill site has been converted into an urban park named for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been incapacitated since suffering a major stroke in 2006. In addition to the park at the site, Hiriya is also being used as a transit location for garbage that is taken there before being trucked to the Negev.

The new facility is the initiative of the Dan Municipal Sanitation Association, a consortium serving a large number of Tel Aviv-area municipalities. The actual operation of the garbage processing facility will be carried out by Nesher Cement and the multinational firm Veolia Environment, which is already a major refuse processor here.

The new facility will handle about half of all of the garbage produced by the cities in the region, according to Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Doron Sapir, who heads the umbrella organization of Tel Aviv area municipalities. About 40 percent of the refuse received at the new facility is expected to be either recycled or sent to Nesher cement for use as energy-producing fuel. Higher quality paper, cardboard and plastic, Sapir said, will be sent for recycling, while paper, plastic and fabric of a type less suitable to be recycled will be incinerated by Nesher.

The new Hiriya facility also has the capacity to sort material into wet and dry refuse that has not been sorted in advance by residents, although the consortium is interested in providing financial incentives to municipalities to separate dry garbage from wet, Sapir said.