Food Comprises 34% of Israeli Household Waste, Survey Shows

Study indicates that Israelis are consuming more packaged food than in the past; rate of organic waste in Israel is high compared to other countries.

Nir Kafri

One third of solid waste that is collected from Israeli homes by local municipalities is biodegradable, a new national survey has shown.

The survey on the composition of waste in Israel also showed that biodegradable (i.e. food) or organic waste is also found in large quantities in bins designated for dry waste alone.

The survey, conducted by the Shachaf Group on behalf of the Environmental Protection Ministry, took samples from 550 trucks and thousands of containers and bins.

The results show that food scraps constitute 34 percent of the total weight of all household waste collected. This rate increases 44 percent when examining containers and bins in the streets, since the food has not been processed by the garbage trucks.

In second place is plastic, constituting 18 percent of waste. Diapers constitute 6 percent of all waste, and this number goes up when sampling ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods exclusively.

Examining the trend over many years shows that the rate of the weight of organic waste has significantly decreased, while the rate of plastic and paper has risen. This indicates that Israelis are consuming larger amounts of packaged food than in the past. However, the rate of organic waste in Israel is still high when compared to other countries.

Israel has an especially high rate of organic waste comprised of rotten fruits and vegetables. According to the conductors of the poll, these numbers justify the policy of separating dry and wet waste before it goes to recycling.

The survey shows 35 percent of the food remains found were containers designated for dry waste. That may be because much of the plastic waste was comprised of nylon bags containing liquids from organic waste.

Plastic, cardboard and paper constitute 69 percent of the volume of waste in Israel.