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Separating waste at the source - changing consumerism and saving money


SCOW 1st capitalization event in Upper-Galilee, Israel

14 August, 2014

The 1st Capitalisation event of the SCOW project was held on the 12th, June 2014 at the Upper-Galilee, Israel, in collaboration with MIGAL, Upper-Galilee regional council and IUED- Israeli Union for Environmental Defense.

Other integral partners in the conference, who gave the conference its regional, national and international impact, included Israel Ministry of Negev-Galilee, Israel Ministry of environmental protection, Israel ministry of Agriculture and rural development, Economic Company of the Upper-Galilee, Pastoral Green Hotel, Beverages Containers Collection Corporation ELA Ltd, Galilee cities union for waste, Tel-Hai College and the Galilee development agency.

The Environmental protection minister, Mr. Amir Peretz, said that transforming waste from nuisance to resource will continue to be a major goal and separation of waste at source in local authorities will continue to be one of the flagship projects, and he welcomed collaborations with the EU countries on that subject.  Mr. Peretz also said that strengthening the link between society and environment will be a foremost goal of the ministry in the coming years.  Special emphasize will be given to building the whole process with lots of sensitivity and with the aim to succeed in bringing it to fruition, not only to the strong socio-economic communities, but also to the peripheral regions in Israel. Mr. Luigi Pratolongo, the Head of the Economic and Trade section from the European embassy of Israel and Mr. Martin Heibel ENPI CBC Med Programmewere very pleased to be at the conference and to see its impact. 


            Mr. Luigi Pratolongo, the Head of the Economic and Trade section from the
European embassy of Israel

Mr. David Lapler – Director, Ministry of Environmental protection said, that since the establishment of end-site installations requires more regulation and standards there is a need to synchronize between source separation and between establishment of end-sites, a number of regional councils reported that transfer facilities take the same amount for separated waste as for mixed.

The large cities are slowly entering, but they are indeed entering, the Ministry is interested in promoting the recycling revolution with reduction of the discrepancies between the center and the peripheries in waste treatment, there are communities that still don’t have waste collection at all.  Source separation is not just a technological means, but it is also an educational measure. 


The aims of this capitalization event where to learn from each regions' experience, to exchange knowledge and to open new opportunities to develop other mutual projects and collaborations. From the Israeli point of view the conference was very unique because it is the first time that a regional council cooperates with EU partners on this subject of waste separation at source.

The conference was a huge success with participation of 370 people from all over Israel; 100 mayors and environmental units' managers from 21 councils from the south to the north of Israel. 30 guests and experts from 9 different countries: Belgium Italy, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Jordan, Palestinian authority, Malta, France and Israel. A special exhibition featuring companies who develop various solutions for waste separation was held outside the conference hall and attracted a lot of interest and enthusiasm.


 SCOW Experts

The  SCOW experts gave the audience a very interesting view of what and how this process is being performed, what are its advantages and also what improvements need to be made in order to make this whole process of managing the treatment of the organic waste from the very start to the end-users. 

Mr. Massimo Centemero - Technical Director of Italian Composting Council - Use of compost as a replacement for chemical fertilizer

75% of the area of south Europe is designated as having a low content (3.4%>) to extremely low (1.7%>) of organic material in the soil.  Organic material content lower than 1% is not sustaining.  16% of Europe’s land is damaged through some type of degradation and reduction in the quality of the land.

Compost with earth and fertilizing qualities that supports field crops and greenhouse crops, Its value ranges between the value of peat and animal manure. Its capacity to moderately release nitrogen protects the nitrogen over time.  Compost provides organic fertilizer, and reclaims land and crop beds. 


Mr. Massimo Centemero - Technical Director of
Italian Composting Council

Mr. Francesc Giró - Deputy Manager of the Residues Agency of Catalunya

Catalunya - 32,000 square kilometers, 7.5 million population, 946 regional authorities in 41 regions.

The Residues Agency is a public company that treats commercial, municipal, construction and agricultural wastes, and wastewater.

Waste management in Catalunya has been introduced over the past years through legislative tools, budget allocations and establishment and staffing of this organization.

Over the last few years there has been a fundamental change in approach.  Currently it is understood that the amount of waste must be reduced, and that the waste itself is a resource that needs to be managed.  Urban waste is composed mainly of organic waste, and first of all the quantity needs to be reduced, but the waste that is produced needs to be separated into the different streams. The separated waste should be collected for re-use as much as possible, and the mixed waste can be burned for energy, to prevent its being used for landfill.

The treatment installations should be adjusted to accommodate the expected amounts and enable the optimal management of end solutions that produce quality end products. 

The cost of compost treatment is higher than the landfill fee and thus landfill taxes should be added to encourage compost treatment and different treatments that are more environmentally sound than landfilling. 

In 2004 they started the landfill fees. In 2008 they started a system for tax refunds for source separated waste, devised from a calculation of the cost of waste treatment, factoring in the amount of collection, quality of separation and characteristics of the region (urban, peripheral).  As such, a regional authority that has not joined the waste separation plan raises its taxes by an additional 10 Euros per ton while a regional authority that achieves a high quality of separation can achieve refunds of 40 Euros per ton.

The goal is to collect 60% of the waste that is produced by 2020.  Separating organic waste is possible in the Mediterranean countries.  Adopting the landfill fee and tax on waste treatment are essential steps for developing organic waste recycling.  The ongoing estimation of the quality of collection and separation is an important tool for improving the system.  Use of taxation according to quality significantly contributed to the quality of the separation.  Combining the landfill fee and tax for treatment enables the environmental costs of the waste to be factored in.  If the tax revenues are used properly, it will lead to a fundamental change in the direction of ecological management of waste.  Success in the process of separation and management of waste will enable us to reach the goals of the European Directive, prevention of waste of resources with economic value and assisting the labor market.

Mr. Michele Giavini - ARS ambiente, consultant of Italian Composting Association CIC, on behalf of Mr. Marco Ricci Juhrgensen

Organic waste treatment is the basis of managing MSW, and unsuccessful treatment of organic waste is a severe hazard, causing between 3-11% of trapped greenhouse gasses.  Today more than 70% of the population lives in cities, and in the near future 95% will live in cities.  In Europe there was no regulation obligating organic waste treatment and thus several systems of treatment were developed.  Organic waste is classified as the waste flow that includes landscaping and garden waste and food scraps.  The legislation should be adjusted to reality in order to provide waste producers with an incentive to treat it and not just ignore it or pass on the responsibility for its treatment, the landfill fee in England is so high that it is cheaper for them to send their waste to Scandinavian countries. We should make it easier for households that separate at the source, with aerated composters and biodegradable bags that make waste separation more pleasant.  Door to door explanation campaigns are much more effective in instilling the approach to source separation.

R5 approach – reduction, re-use, recycling , decay and renewal.

Mr. Michele Giavini - ARS ambiente, consultant of Italian Composting Association CIC –Success stories of waste separation from other parts of the world

By 2050, almost 95% of the population will live in cities, even though the conference is addressing remote and tourism regions yet in fact, most of the population will live in cities and we need to find a solution for this trend. 

In Italy, 4 million tons of organic waste are treated in 250 compost installations, where the main stream to these sites is food scraps and landscaping waste.

In Milano, with a population of 1.3 million, 90 kilos per person, a small ventilated container as the base (L7), a medium-sized container (L30) and a central container for removal (L120), removal twice a week.  Rate of non-organic residue is less than 5%. All of the waste is treated at an anaerobic plant for producing electricity.

In San Francisco, with 850,000 citizens, 1.35 million commuters, 123 kilos organic waste per person per year, separation into three streams.  Great difficulty in instilling the policy because of the high rate of foreigners in the city. 

In Dhaka, with an estimated population of 14 million citizens, the content of organic waste is high, 67%, collection is done by rickshaws, at about 60%, at this rate the organic waste per person per year is about 83 kilos in response to a rise in the landfill fee. Waste treatment is performed through different systems and at different scales in accordance with local needs using local composting.

(Compiler’s Note: In Israel the data relates to amount per household and not per person)

Rural areas – Household composting is not sufficient, collection of organic waste by a multi-function truck saves costs (mainly transportation). 

Mr. Michele Giavini, Dr. Ramon Plana, Mr. Francesc Giró


Dr. Ramon Plana - International expert for composting – International Consultant on Composting – Organic waste at tourism sites

Experience from projects in Spain:

The projects are divided into two:

  • Collection – organic waste contains 70% moisture, and organic waste degrades very quickly. In fact, transporting organic waste should be related to like transporting water and should be done at specific intervals in order to prevent environmental hazards such as smell, flies and attracting animals.
  • Treatment – it’s very easy to treat organic waste through composting if it is properly separated from non-organic materials.  Planning of an end site installation for composting must take into account large quantities of organic waste, and the installation should be able to take in amounts of waste that are higher than usual in accordance with the maximum annual amount (holiday periods).  The installation must assure optimal conditions for treating waste throughout the entire process.

Project management in remote areas:

  • Communities that are isolated and far from one another
  • Poor communication
  • Seasonality in producing waste related to waves of tourism

Collecting organic waste is costly, yet installations for local treatment can break down during high tourist seasons, and a regional installation should be reconsidered.  The amount of organic waste can be doubled in the tourist season (summer months).  If full separation between organic and other waste can be achieved, the frequency that the dry waste should be collected can be reduced, and the treatment of organic waste can be done locally.

Planning for camping sites includes complete waste separation, establishing compost and treatment installations for landscaping waste and food scraps, and separation sites for the rest of the streams.  Less frequent collection for the dry streams, training workers, informational advertising at the site about environmental activities, and improving the visitor experience. 

Currently, camping sites produce compost and save 20% of the cost of the compost through use at the camping site. 


  • Quality of separation is insufficient
  • Difficulty in getting workers accustomed to the new format
  • Seasonality of the site reduces composting efficiency
  • Lack of support by regional authorities


  • No problems of smell, flies or other complaints
  • Local treatment of food scraps and landscaping waste
  • Local use of compost that is produced
  • Exposure of the initiative to tourists

Dr. Ramon Plana - International expert for composting



The SCOW partners are now in the implementation stage of the pilot scale, after they already planed the composters according to the principle of low cost, low tech, high quality bio-waste management. In addition, the campaign already started within the communities in order to raise the awareness and the active involvement of the people in the process for the benefits of the present and of the next generations. 


Read more >> About the SCOW project and the interesting conference, please click on the link. In addition we invite you to join the SCOW social networks in order to find ways to exchange knowledge, experience and worldwide contacts. 

Mr. Giora Salz, Mayor of Upper-Galilee council, Mr. Amir Pertz, Minister of Israel
Envoronmental protection, Mr. Avishai Levi, CEO of MIGAL-Galilee research Institute  


Professional study tours as a part of the 1st capitalization event in the Galilee

"Sustainable community - practices of waste treatment"
Sustainable principles for compost treatment and uses in the community at Kibbutz AMIR; Waste treatment of households with the neighborhood's composters. Uses of compost at the community garden, visit the  permaculture farm and meeting with green active people in the community. Mr. Tal Israeli, Mr. Amik Hacohen,Mr. Alex Kachan.


"Freindly Agriculture at Havat Hamataim"
In our tour at “Havat Hamataim" research station located at the Northern Hula Valley we will learn about different methods to control pest in various crops with environmentally friendly means. We will also talk about an environmentally friendly agriculture project that is successfully operated in the region for the last 4 years. In addition we will find out about the MISSTOW system that treats agricultural wastewater from wineries and olive mills in a multidisciplinary environmentally safe approach.  With Dr. Liora Shaltiel From the Northern R&D of MIGAL .



Professional tour to Upper Galilee composter's prototype model in Kibutch Baraam 
The tour concentrates on the professional characteristics of the prototype, operation methods and compost quality issues.