From dumping to sanitary landﬁlls – solid waste management
, T. Shohat, Y. Inbar
Division of Solid Waste Management, Ministry of the Environment, P.O. Box 34033, Jerusalem 95464, Israel
Accepted 8 June 2004
To address the problem of solid waste in Israel, the Ministry of the Environment has formulated a policy based on integrated
waste management. The policy calls for reduction of waste at source, reuse, recycling (including composting), waste-to-energy tech-
nologies, and landﬁlling. Due to the implementation of this policy, all the large dumps were closed, state-of-the art landﬁlls were
built, and recovery rates have increased from 3% in the beginning of the 1990s to almost 20% in 2003. More than 95% of the munic-
ipal solid waste is disposed and treated in an environmentally sound manner – in comparison to a mere 10% just a decade ago. The
policy was implemented utilizing both enforcement and ﬁnancial support (‘‘stick and carrot’’ approach).
Ó 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Israel is located in the eastern part of the Mediter-
ranean Sea. The countryÕs population was 6.6 million
in 2002. The average Israeli generates 1.8 kg of munic-
ipal solid waste per day (660 kg/year). About 5.7 mil-
lion tons of solid waste (domestic, commercial and
industrial) were produced in 2002, 25 million cubic
meters in volume. The total quantity of solid waste
in the country (including agricultural waste, sludge,
contaminated soil, and building debris) has reached
about 7 million tons per year. These numbers, how-
ever, are not static; household waste has been increas-
ing in the order of 4–5% annually (MOE, 2002). Due
primarily to a population growth of nearly 2.5% annu-
ally (higher than any other developed country in the
world), rising standards of living and unsustainable
2. Solid waste disposal: a historical perspective
In the late 1980s, some 96% of IsraelÕs municipal
waste found its way to about 500 unregulated garbage
dumps. Most dumps were poorly managed and many
had reached or were soon to reach capacity. The dumps
were associated with a motley of environmental prob-
lems: risk of ground water and soil contamination,
stench, air pollution (including generation of greenhouse
gases), aesthetic blight, threats to ﬂight safety, consump-
tion of expensive tracts of land.
Recognition of the severity of the problems led, in
1993, to a government decision, mandating closure of
the countryÕs unregulated dumps, their replacement by
state-of-the-art regional and central landﬁlls, ﬁnancial
aid to local authorities for transporting their wastes to a
regulated landﬁll for a deﬁned time period, and advance-
ment of recycling and energy recovery (MOE, 1994).
While plans for more eﬀective disposal of solid waste
date back to the 1970s, solutions to the ever-growing
problem have not been forthcoming. Until 1993, the
basis for government policy was rooted in the National
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E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (I. Nissim).
Waste Management 25 (2005) 323–327