Aiming to contribute to the environmental revolution that has swept up so many
Israelis, the nation’s defense force intends to significantly slash its energy
use, increase recycling and incorporate renewable infrastructure in its bases
during the coming years.
“Now we are creating a grand plan to deal with
the reduction of solid waste, and in six years from now we want to be recycling
50 percent [of our waste],” Lt.-Col. Eyal Ezra, head of the IDF’s technology and
logistics department told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
“We are doing
all of this with the Environmental Protection Ministry.”
department received a special award from the IDF and the Environmental
Protection Ministry at a ceremony in Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening honoring
specific IDF branches for their environmental advancement. As a result of his
team’s efforts to ready the entire army for a comprehensive environmental
overhaul, the head office within the technology and logistics branch won first
prize in the category: “integration of environmental protection as an integral
part of organizational culture.”
Reaching a state in which the army is
recycling 50% of its waste is a lofty goal, as the IDF is only recycling about
11- 12%, according to Ezra, who has headed the department since March, but has a
professional background in urban planning. To attain this goal, Ezra and his
team will be focusing on the recycling of domestic waste generated by the
soldiers at their bases, which constitutes about 75% of the IDF’s total waste,
Already, several bases – in army bases in the Eilat-Eilot
region, a navy base in Ashdod and the Sde Dov air force base – have begun
separating their wet and dry waste at source, he continued. Next year, bases in
Carmiel are to join in the effort, and Ezra said he hopes to expand the program
into recycling electronic and packaging waste soon.
In addition to
increasing the IDF’s focus on recycling, Ezra and his team have committed to
energy conservation, and hope to achieve a 20% reduction in energy consumption
by the year 2020 alongside the entire State of Israel, he
Eventually, a central management system will allow for the
constant monitoring of energy consumption and conservation on all bases, Ezra
Not only does he aim to decrease energy use, but he intends to see
the army running on cleaner sources.
“We have reached an agreement with a
big company that provides electricity that will provide the IDF with energy
whose origin is natural gas,” he said, remarking that the influx of gas from
this private supplier will begin in 2014.
Within five years, nearly all
of the IDF will be fueled by natural gas, and by 2020, Ezra said he would like
to see 5% of the army’s supply coming from renewables. Already, one air force
base and several army bases in the South employ solar installations, and more
will soon begin integrating solar power, wind turbines and geothermal
facilities, he added.
Ezra’s department is working on connecting all IDF
bases to proper sewage systems, a NIS 4 million investment project that will be
complete in 2017.
Thus far, 170 of the 400 bases still requiring sewage
connection have been hooked up, he said.
Meanwhile, as the IDF plans to
construct a wide range of buildings in the Negev, the country’s center and in
the Galilee, it will be doing so according to a regulation for sustainable
building, Ezra continued.
“All the future building for the army will
adhere to this regulation,” he said.
This decision is particularly
critical, he explained, as the IDF will be replacing about 40% of its
infrastructure in the next couple decades.
One final way in which the
technology and logistics department has been helping transform the IDF into a
more environmentally friendly institution is by promoting cooperation with the
Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) regarding nature reserves, Ezra
“The IDF influences over 50% of the state,” he said, observing
that 35% of the IDF’s land use involves training zones, and 95% of these
training zones fall on nature reserves.
“So we have to deal very
carefully with these areas,” he said.
In Ezra’s mind, the IDF makes two
oaths – one on the soldiers that they must be returned home to their families
and another on the land that must be returned to the citizens
“It’s a sort of promise that we need to preserve,” he
“That’s the idea of cooperation between the IDF and
At the awards ceremony on Wednesday, several other departments
received acknowledgements for their environmental contributions to the army. In
the same environmental integration category in which Ezra’s team was honored,
the intelligence corps, the Center for Rehabilitation and Maintenance 7000 and
the ground forces command received awards for specific bases under their
command, according to the IDF Spokesman’s Unit.
Meanwhile, the “Flying
Fox” Infantry Training School received a prize in the category of excellence in
nature conservation, due to a project called “Between the Irises and the