Jerusalem gets bins for recyclable containers and wrappers, after years of delay

Director of separate city recycling plant says municipality will have to pay his company compensation, as it will now receive less material to sell for recycling

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter

An orange bin for recycling containers and wrappers appears next to a paper recycling container (center) and a bin for glass, at Hatulot Square in downtown Jerusalem, on November 27, 2022. (Sue Surkes/Times of Israel)
An orange bin for recycling containers and wrappers appears next to a paper recycling container (center) and a bin for glass, at Hatulot Square in downtown Jerusalem, on November 27, 2022. (Sue Surkes/Times of Israel)

Jerusalem has begun to distribute bins for recyclable containers and wrappers, eight years after signing a contract with the company that supplies them.

The city — threatened with fines more than once by the Environmental Protection Ministry for foot-dragging — has long resisted the distinctive orange containers.

This is because unlike other municipalities, it set up a waste sorting facility called Greenet some years ago in Atarot, in northern Jerusalem.

The business deal signed by the city allows Greenet to sort potentially recyclable items out from the general trash and sell them.

Ofer Bogin, Greenet’s director general, confirmed to the Times of Israel on Monday that the agreement contained a clause obliging the city to pay compensation should the quantity of recyclable materials delivered to the facility go down.

Bogin said a figure had yet to be agreed upon.

According to the Jerusalem Municipality, the first 100 orange containers are being distributed around what it calls recycling centers — areas that concentrate different bins for recycling items such as glass, paper, cardboard, electrical items and clothing. These are in the neighborhoods of Nahlaot, Har Nof, Kiryat Moshe, Mishkenot HaUma, Mahane Yehuda, Makor Baruch, Ma’alot Dafna, Ramat Eshkol, Sanhedria, and Har Hotzvim.

Screen capture from video of a man using an orange recycling bin. (Twitter)

An additional 2,000 orange containers, out of an eventual planned total of 4,000, will be placed around the capital in the coming six months.

Mayor Moshe Lion said that within the next five years, 90 percent of households will have easy access to an orange bin, placed next to the regular green bins for general refuse.

The new orange bins are equipped with sensors that relay data on the quantity of material collected.

The municipality is obligated by law to educate the public about recycling and what to put in each bin.

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