Israelis lead way in recycling, local study finds

77% of recyclable bottles are returned, one of the highest rates in the world, according to report

A woman throws a bottle into the recycling bin in central Jerusalem. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
A woman throws a bottle into the recycling bin in central Jerusalem. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Israelis are better at recycling than most European countries, a  study released this week revealed.

Ela, an Israeli nonprofit group that oversees bottle recycling efforts in the country, revealed that in 2011 Israelis returned 77 percent of recyclable bottles requiring a deposit, a rate higher than most European countries. Only the Scandinavian countries and Germany have a higher rate, around 90%.

The study also said that 41% of larger plastic bottles, for which there is no deposit, were returned. Both statistics exceed the target figures set in the 2001 Bottle and Can Deposit Law, which initiated country-wide beverage container recycling.

Nehama Ronen, chairwoman of Ela, called the results an “amazing accomplishment” and said, “The Israeli public is committed to recycling,” Maariv reported.

Last year saw the addition of around 4,400 plastic bottle recycling stations around the country, bring the total number to some 15,000, according to Maariv.

Amit Bracha, chairman of the Israel Union for Environmental Defense (Adam Teva v’Din), said in Maariv that nationwide recycling of all possible materials is around 20 percent, up from 15 percent from two years ago and that the data was very encouraging.

“We are in an era of progressive legislation and hope to reach a target of re-use of 50% of recyclable materials within a few years,” he said.

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