Recycling bin
Recycling bin Photo by Nir Kedar
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The Environmental Protection Ministry is to publish in the coming weeks calls for initiatives to build recycling facilities in a bid to recycle more waste in Israel. The ministry is committing NIS 300 million to support such initiatives, which would build facilities to sort organic waste from dry waste produced by cities.

Organic waste includes vegetable peels and other kinds of leftover food, and dry waste includes cardboard, paper and glass. One type of facility would turn organic waste into compost for agricultural use and the other kind would turn it into gas to be used in electricity production.

Bodies submitting a proposal would have to pledge not to send more than 20 percent of its product to landfill, and that five years after their establishment they would accept only waste that had already been separated. Facilities submiting a proposal to produce gas would have to pledge that the gas they produce would be used for energy.

The call for proposals is meant to complement already existing ministry-encouraged household recycling into "wet" and "dry" waste.

There are currently almost no recycling plants producing compost or gas, and only two facilities that recycle waste. One is located near Masmiya junction on the southern coastal plain and the other is over the Green Line.

Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said last week he was sure that additional plants could be up and running within a few years. "I say this because I know what plans are being discussed and what the likelihood is that they can be approved," he said.

A number of local authorities are already moving ahead to build facilities for recycling organic waste. Ra'anana Mayor Nahum Hofri said Ra'anana and neighboring Kfar Sava will build a facility to convert organic waste into gas for energy. The eastern Galilee-Golan association of towns for environmental quality is planning to build a plant for recycling separated waste.