Israel is working to reduce waste. The famous “Garbage Mountain” in Tel Aviv is the world’s largest recycling park. The garbage mound’s smell can be smelt from miles away, and there was once 25 million tons of garbage in the mound.
Garbage Mountain is a step in the right direction. Israel still buries 80% of its waste and recycles just 20% of its waste.
Household waste is now being transformed into everything from fuel to fertilizer and energy.
But is it enough?
It would be nice to see Israel have no waste, but it’s a long way away. The good news is that there’s been a new breakthrough in waste toilet paper that can help. Seriously.
Municipal landfills are swelling with waste toilet paper. Researchers have developed a two-step process that transforms waste toilet paper into electricity. The renewable energy’s cost is said to be comparable to solar power.
Toilet paper contains 70% – 80% carbon, so it’s a rich source that can be used for electricity.
Studies done in Europe found that this waste toilet paper averages 10 – 14kg per person annually. That’s a lot of municipal waste. But businesses may be willing to help in the future. Businessmen might offer to repair clogs or remove much of this waste for free. Plumbers may collect the waste toilet paper, selling it to businessmen who want to make electricity out of it.
Cellulose, the source of carbon in the toilet paper, comes from trees, so waste toilet paper remains a viable source of renewable energy.
Waste toilet paper is also a product that everyone uses. The world is using toilet paper, so it’s a viable source for renewable energy. Israel can use the resource to lower the demand for fossil fuels and lower costs at the same time.
Electric efficiency using the system in place right now is similar to a natural gas plant at 57%.
But how much less waste will this allow on scale? National Geographic finds that toilet paper alone is responsible for the loss of 27,000 trees per day. Worldwide, about 10% of all of the 270,000 trees that end up in landfills or flushed are due to toilet paper.
Going beyond the waste toilet paper, waste paper of a variety of types might be able to be converted using the same method.
The level of carbon in the paper will play a role in how viable it is to use certain types of paper products for electricity, but there’s always the benefit of reducing waste.
Municipal waste in Israel continues to be a growing problem. There are 12,000 tons of municipal waste buried daily in Israel. The rate of municipal waste is also increasing 3% – 5% annually, and 6.2 million tons of solid waste is produced in the country per year.
Israel has made strides to reduce their waste and turn it into something usable. The impact of turning waste into electricity has already helped the country improve their waste issue. “Zero landfilling” is going to be difficult to achieve right now, but this is another step in the right direction.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection aims to hit a rate of 50% recovery and recycling by 2020.
A start to correcting the solid waste problem in Israel was started in the 90s when hundreds of garbage dumps, operating without regulation, were closed. Today’s landfills and treatment systems have helped Israel move forward without the looming threat of garbage.
The country can use the new technology to leverage the 27,000 tons of municipal waste to turn into electricity.
Can this new breakthrough help Israel’s garbage issue? Absolutely.