Why is Israel still drowning in garbage?

Environmental Affairs: Despite new recycling strategies, Israel remains a world leader in the production of waste per person.

With the global spotlight shining ever brighter on issues of climate change and sustainability, Israel has emerged as a notable player in the movement toward more eco-friendly practices. 

Among its key focus areas is recycling, as the country seeks to address mounting waste management challenges and pave the way for a greener future.

“The real question is not how much are Israelis recycling, but rather how much waste Israelis are producing,” Amiad Lapidot, head of solid waste at Adam Teva VeDin, the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, recently told The Jerusalem Post.

“In Israel, the amount of garbage generated per person is among the highest in the world, and while in other countries this figure is decreasing, in Israel it is increasing,” he said. 

A record amount of waste per person
According to the Environmental Protection Ministry, in 2019 the average Israeli generated 1.7 kg. of waste daily, or the equivalent of 51 kg. of waste per month and 612 kg. of waste per year – 30% more than European countries. The waste production growth in Israel stands at 1.8% per year. 

As such, Israel’s waste management crisis has reached a critical juncture, with the country’s landfills rapidly reaching capacity. In 2021, the Environmental Protection Ministry issued a stark warning, stating that the country was running out of space to accommodate the massive amounts of waste being generated.

With regard to single-use plastic, Lapidot said the situation is even worse, with “Israel ranked first in the world.”