Poll Reveals Israelis Recycle - When They Can

Bottle recycling is common in Israel, but other nationwide programs struggling in first survey of its kind.

Tova Dvorin,

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat near recycling bins (file)
Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat near recycling bins (file)
Kobi Gideon - Flash90

For the first time, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) has published data on how much Israelis recycle - with Jerusalem bottoming out all lists for 2014. 

Most Israelis are conscientious about recycling their plastic bottles in state-provided bins or redeeming smaller bottles for cash as mandated by law. 67% of Israelis nationwide recycle their bottles.

By city, Netanya has the highest recycling rate, with 84% of residents collecting bottles, followed by Ashdod at 83% and Tel Aviv at 82%. Between 69-76% of residents in most of Israel's major cities recycle bottles - except for Jerusalem, with just 48% recycling. 

For Jerusalem, the problem may be a matter of few facilities. According to the CBS survey, more than 80% of Israelis report that there is a plastic bottle bin in their neighborhood, but just 57% of Jerusalem residents are aware of a nearby bin. When divided between Jewish and Arab areas, recycling rises dramatically among Jews, with 84% stating they are aware of a bin in their neighborhood. 

Only 52% of Israelis recycle paper and cardboard, despite special bins being available in most major cities. Netanya leads the list once again with 78% recycling, followed by 71% of Tel Aviv residents. At the other end of the spectrum, just 40% of Bnei Brak residents recycle their paper goods, and 31% of Jerusalemites. 

Battery and electrical recycling appears to be getting a slow start nationwide, with just 32% of Israelis recycling batteries and 11% recycling electronics. 46% of Tel Aviv residents and 36% of Haifa residents recycle batteries, vs. 19% in Jerusalem; overall, just 31% of Israelis say they know of a battery recycling bin in their area, with more bins in Tel Aviv and fewer in Jerusalem.

Just 4%-6% of Israelis reported knowing of an electrical appliance recycling facility in their major city.