United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Statement of MK Gilad Erdan
Israel Minister of Environmental Protection
to the Round Table on Waste and Chemicals
of the 19th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
Mr. Chairperson, Honorable Ministers, Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen
We all know that humanity?s consumption of resources and its
generation of waste far exceed the earth?s carrying capacity. We also
know that waste contributes to climate change, causes pollution,
consumes land resources, and impacts on human health. In the face of
this reality, it is imperative that we find ways of doing more with less.
We recently launched a major waste revolution in Israel under the motto
?From Nuisance to Resource.? Our target is to reach zero landfilling by
2020 while reducing, reusing and recycling waste.
This new policy is backed up first of all by legislation, including a
Packaging Law, financial incentives to local authorities and the private
sector for separation of waste at source and material resource facilities,
and large-scale education and information programs, including a mass
media campaign to change the public's consumption level. We are
convinced that this holistic approach will prevent pollution and reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, while creating new energy sources and
providing thousands of new jobs. Millions of dollars worth of raw
materials which were once buried in Israel?s landfills will now be
To promote our ?zero landfilling? policy, the Ministry of Environmental
Protection is working on several complementary levels. We are
collecting a levy from landfill operators for every ton of waste which is
landfilled and depositing the funds in a dedicated account, with the
funds going back to local authorities and the private sector for
separation of waste at source programs and infrastructure, material
recycling facilities, and education and information programs. We are
establishing extended producer responsibility for the treatment of
dedicated waste streams, including packaging, tires and beverage
containers and, in the future, electronic waste. We are moving toward
separation at source of clean organic waste, which makes up some 40%
of the country?s waste. We are prohibiting the landfilling of recyclable
materials, including biodegradable organic material, tires, cardboard and
paper. And, in recognition of the importance of introducing a new waste
ethic, we are financially supporting local authorities in promoting
educational activities which are targeted at waste reduction at source,
separation at source, reuse and recycling, and launching programs
aimed at changing behavioral norms.
Our transition to separation of waste at source represents a real
revolution in Israel, and we are determined to take the necessary steps,
at all levels, to ensure implementation. At the same time, we have
begun to examine the sustainable materials management approach with
the intention of moving from waste policies to ?materials policies? which
cover the full lifecycle of products. We will be glad to share the lessons
we have learned and the experience we have accumulated with the
world community.
Thank you.