Ilan Suisa, a father of four from Akko (Acre), aspires to make his ancient hometown the environmental activism capital of Israel. According to news reports he has even changed his name to “Ilan Green-Suisa.”
Over time, Green-Suisa convinced the Akko municipality to place forty recycling bins throughout the city: “Akko won the first place in Israel for recycling,” he said.
With a band of over forty volunteers of diverse ages, ethnicities and religions, Green-Suisa has spearheaded multiple community art projects. One such project collected ceramic shards illegally disposed of by building companies into the port. The grassroots project used these shards to create a mosaic at a local school.
“Recycling old waste can always be turned into art,” he said.
In a country with a weak recycling infrastructure, every day citizens are rising up and taking action without the aid of funding, slogans or directors. I know a college student in Tel Aviv who personally requested a recycling bin from the municipality. He now quietly takes the whole building’s recyclable trash to the plant every week, for no reason other than he thinks it’s the right thing to do. And there are many more like him and Green-Suisa.
Israel barely recycles paper, metals or plastics and has no efficient national system for separating organic waste. The nation holds sustainable innovation in one hand and a tradition of chaos in the other. But the creativity of its citizens is a boundless resource. And in a country so small the little things are adding up.
When looking to future, Green-Suisa said he hopes to collaborate with the “Zalul” association to battle the factories that are polluting local streams.
Image of Akko from Rostislav Glinsky, Shutterstock
Read more about recycling in Israel:
Israel’s Shumis Pizza Joint Features Row Upon Row of Recycled Tomato Cans
Ten Sustainable Israeli Designers Who Reduce, Reuse &
Paper Made From Sewage Rolls off Israeli Shelves