To Recycle or Not to Recycle? In Rishon Letzion, It Doesn’t Matter

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Trash can labeled 'dry garbage' in Rishon Lezion.Credit: Moti Milrod

Drive around Rishon Letzion and you’ll see garbage bins in different colors, some marked “wet garbage” and some marked “dry garbage.” But though residents may make an effort to put their leftovers in the compost bin, it turns out the municipality dumps both kinds of trash in the same place.

A few days ago, a Rishon Letzion resident named Eli Nacht happened to be in the city’s industrial zone when he noticed a garbage truck collecting trash from both types of bins, and putting it all in the same place.

“What is the logic behind us as citizens trying to separate dry and wet garbage when you realize that it is only for show,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “Even when we try to do something positive, such as separating garbage for recycling — in the end it turns out to be one big bluff.”

“So I’m asking you,” he wrote, “why the show and why are they deceiving us, or maybe the city is deceiving itself?”

The Rishon Letzion municipality confirmed that it does not separate dry and wet garbage and said it would remove the signs identifying the different kinds of garbage bins, which it said are dispersed in 15 locations across the city.

An official involved in the nationwide recycling project said the deception, even if it was not intentional, could harm the public’s faith in the recycling programs.

The misunderstanding began several years ago, when the city bought the different garbage bins in expectation of winning a tender from the Environmental Protection Ministry and receiving funding for the recycling program, the city said. The ministry did not choose Rishon, but the deceptive garbage cans are still there.

“There was a mistake in putting on the stickers,” the city said. “The Rishon municipality entered the tender from the Environmental Protection Ministry a few years ago for the project of separating waste, and was asked to prepare for separating the garbage bins and marking them appropriately.

"The garbage cans photographed were placed during that period. The city of Rishon Letzion did not join the project of separating [wet and dry trash] at that time, but the stickers remained. In light of the request, the stickers will be removed.”

The ministry announced in January that it selected 23 local authorities, not including Rishon, to join the recycling project, and the ministry is providing some 160 million shekels in funding. The recycling also saves the cities money because they do not have to pay the landfill fees of 80 shekels per ton.

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