Israel's First Municipal Reuse Center Sounds Like The Salvation Army

salvation army in israel photo

Collecting everything but the kitchen sink, and well, maybe even that, Israel gets its first municipal center for “recycling and rational resource use,” announces the Ministry of Environmental Protection last week on Christmas Day. (Do they mean “national” or “rational?” We’re a little confused. Maybe lost in translation?)

Moving on –– Located in Haifa, the center spans 1,000 square meters, and is intended to collect a wide range of waste and household products for reuse and recycling. Such products include: furniture, electrical appliances, food, toys, books, house and kitchen wares, carpets, lamps and mattresses.

Sounds a lot like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or a gemach if you ask me.


The items are cleaned up by volunteers and sold at cost to the needy and to municipal residents. A repair laboratory operates on the premises to check and repair electrical appliances for reuse. Outside the building, different containers for different products are stationed along with bins for the collection of wastes for recycling, including newspapers, cardboard, metals, glass, defective electronic products, etc.

While cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem collect plastic bottles for recycling, and some of Jerusalem’s neighbourhoods place large bins resembling bomb-containment facilities for recycling paper, there appears to be no unified and organized practice for collecting the basics: tins, glass and plastic bottles, newspapers and cardboard in Israel. Is this a first step towards that?

Getting an NGO to do its work

According to the Ministry, the center is operated by Lev Chash a volunteer organization working in Haifa and in other parts of the country, which provides services for the needy, including food distribution. The organization operates a collection service for large and usable electrical appliances (such as refrigerators) and furniture, for free distribution to the poor. They will come and pick up some of the larger household items if you call them. 
recycling in israel photo

Recycling checklist:

  • cardboard  
  • paper
  • plastic bottles
  • children’s clothes
  • clothes
  • toys
  • electronic waste (no!)
  • working electronic gear (yes!)
  • books
  • glass

Smaller products, such as ovens, stereos and other items should be brought to the center.

With NIS 500,000 in funding (about $125,000), the Ministry supports this new center to carry out its integrated waste management policy of the “Solid Waste Division” in the Ministry.

Recycling and reusing 101

Says the Ministry website: “The recycling and reuse center reflects the link between environment, economy and society, while encouraging product reuse. Reuse is actually preferable to recycling, from an environmental point of view, since the product changes hands rather than being transformed to another product. Thus, reuse saves both economic and environmental resources, including transport to a manufacturing plant, energy and air pollution.

“The result is especially welcome: refraining from discarding usable items to the garbage, encouraging environmental-social volunteerism, and promoting conservation of natural resources.”

The Ministry also plans to provide a number of educational courses on recycling and reusing, and the environmental benefits of such practices. The center will also work to retrain people and bring them into the job market.

Meanwhile the price of other people’s junk soars in markets like Souk Ha Pishpisheem, and on websites and email lists in Israel. At least this new effort in Haifa might keep prices of second-hand items reasonable.

Yalla, now it’s time for a nation-wide recycling program that comes to our doors. We want blue boxes

For more info about the center in Haifa, call 04 – 867-2999.

Green Prophet is loaded with articles about greening your life. See:
Green Prophets Start At Home and Tackle the Wardrobe
Green Prophet on the Living Room
Green Prophet on the Bedroom
Green Prophet Greens Your Kitchen
Green Prophet Greens Your Bathroom

::Ministry website

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