Plan aims to increase bottle, can recycling

Even though consumers pay a 25-agorot deposit for small drink bottles and cans, and even though they can get the money back by returning them for recycling, too few of the items are being returned and too many are still ending up in the trash every year, reports But one collection company is aiming to change this and to reach out to ordinary households with a pilot program being launched simultaneously in the Sharon area, in Tel Aviv and in Haifa. According to the report, the 25-agorot deposit applies to some 650 million small plastic or glass drink bottles and tin cans sold in Israel every year, but only about two-thirds of the items are returned for recycling and more than 200 million of them still end up in the garbage every year. The report said that households are responsible for only 10 to 14 percent of recycling of the items. The Asofta company, which collects bottles and cans for recycling from businesses around the country, said there were probably six to eight recyclable bottles or cans in every home in Israel, or 12 million recyclable bottles and cans in total at any given moment. An Asofta spokesman said that such items were generally not bio-degradable and when thrown in the trash caused "great and unnecessary" environmental damage, as well as costing money. He said private consumers often did not return the items for recycling either because they lacked access to a recycling center, because of the inconvenience of bringing the items into a supermarket or other center, or because they felt it was not worth the effort financially. But the report said the company has now launched a pilot program in Ra'anana, Kfar Saba, Herzliya and Hod Hasharon, as well as in Tel Aviv and Haifa, in which it proposes to collect such bottles and cans from households directly and pay for them in cash - as long as the household has a minimum of 500 bottles or cans to give. The company said that if the pilot program proved successful, it would be expanded to other areas as well.