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Evaluation of a Plan for Municipal Solid Waste Separation in Haifa

Israel is contending with ever increasing amounts of waste. Every year there is an increase of about 2.5% in the amount of municipal solid waste. Moreover, the options for disposing this waste are decreasing, and planners are encountering ever greater difficulties in identifying new sites for waste disposal, where the effects on the environment and the public will be minimal. Technologic and administrative alternatives for waste disposal have yet to be widely developed and only a small portion of waste is recycled or re-used in some meaningful way. As a result, by 2007-2008 Israel can expect, according to projections by the Ministry of the Environment, to reach a situation where the waste disposal sites can no longer accommodate the accumulated amounts of waste.

This situation raises the need to examine new alternatives that include changes in the system for treating waste and commercial initiatives in the field. Metropolitan Haifa, perhaps more than any other area in Israel, must make a decision regarding solutions for the waste disposal problems in the future. This need emerged from the fact that the waste disposal sites in the north of the country will be closing in the near future. Furthermore, disposal of degradable organic waste is forbidden in Europe and in the future, Israel will also have to adopt a similar measure. The alternative is disposal of "dry", organic free, waste only, after a process of separation and sorting.

According to the composition of waste in Israel, it seems that the option whereby clean organic waste is transferred for composting, and dry waste is left for waste disposal or recycling is the option that economically and environmentally ensures a positive change in the waste processing system. The option for separating waste at the source is suitable for any type of solution that may be developed in the future. It should be noted that separation at the source implies separation at the citizens’ home. Furthermore, organic waste from markets, grocery stores, public institutions such as hotels, restaurants, geriatric residences, etc. would also be applicable. From a preliminary calculation, it seems that this option is not more expensive than the present waste management. At this point, the Haifa Municipality is examining, together with the S. Neaman Institute, the economic and administrative re-organization that will be required to carry out the waste separation project in one of the neighborhoods in the city, which will encompass some 50,000 residents.