In order to conquer the enemy you have to know the enemy. And enemy, your name is plastic. We may live in a small country, but there is nothing small about our consumption of plastic here in Israel - especially in recent years. Approximately 600 million large beverage bottles and 300 million small beverage bottles are consumed in Israel each year, with a 10% - 15% annual growth rate. Plastic constitutes 28% of the volume and 11% of the weight of Israeli waste.
In 2005, the average Israeli citizen produced 1.8 kg of garbage every day - a total national waste of 4.2 million tons during that year. This amount increases by 4% - 5% each year and by 2010 the space used to bury waste will be all used up.
Pretty scary stuff, right?
There's an upside, though. Separating and recycling your waste at the source (meaning, in your house before you take out the trash) could lead to a 60% reduction in the amount of waste transferred to waste burial. Only 20% of the plastic bottles produced in Israel are currently recycled, but if more of them were recycled it would make a big difference in the amount of space required to dump our garbage. (Or, alternatively, you could stop drinking bottled water altogether and get a Brita, whose filter can also be recycled.)
But first you have to know what you can recycle. Most people already know that you can recycle empty bottles from water, soda, etc. But did you know that you can also recycle the empty bottles from your shampoo, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, and cooking supplies? In fact, you can recycle any plastic container marked with one of the triangular recycling symbols above except for the yellow symbol with the number 3 inside. The stamps are usually imprinted on the bottom of the bottles.
For more information about plastic recycling in Israel, see the Aviv Recycling website.