The storage, collection and disposal of solid waste are primarily within the jurisdiction of municipalities and are largely governed by municipal by-laws which determine the legal and administrative arrangements for collection and disposal. Regulations promulgated under the Planning and Building Law set out requirements for the size and type of waste containers as well as the size and type of structures for housing these containers.

Siting of landfills and other waste disposal locations is within the authority of municipalities and subject to the Planning and Building Law and its regulations as well as the National Outline Scheme for Solid Waste Disposal.

The Maintenance of Cleanliness Law, 1984, forbids the throwing of waste, construction debris and vehicle scrap into the public domain, or from the public domain into the private domain. It obligates local authorities, either individually or jointly, to establish sites for the disposal of building debris and vehicle scrap. Owners and drivers of public and commercial vehicles are required to affix signs indicating that discarding waste from the vehicle is prohibited. Producers and importers of beverage containers must print or affix a prohibition on improper disposal on the containers. A 1991 amendment to the law broadens its applicability to waste thrown from a vessel and illegal pasting or hanging of notices and announcements.

The law establishes a Cleanliness Maintenance Fund, administered by the Ministry of the Environment, aimed at concentrating the financial means for maintenance of cleanliness, prevention of littering and sponsoring of educational and enforcement programs. Funds derive from the imposition of a cleanliness fee on manufacturers and importers of disposable beverage containers and from fines paid by violators of the law. In 1993, the Cleanliness Fund budget totalled some $365,000, of which $233,000 were derived from the imposition of the cleanliness fee and the rest from fines.

Since the Maintenance of Cleanliness Law was enacted in 1984, special efforts have centered on involving the general public in implementing the law. An innovative and effective enforcement feature of the law enables the appointment of cleanliness inspectors from government and public agencies and cleanliness trustees from the general public, empowered to report on littering violations. Special training seminars are organized for these volunteer law-enforcers to familiarize them with the provisions of the law. Over the past decade, the number of volunteers who have joined the ranks of Israel’s cleanliness trustees has risen from several hundred to 100,000, The goal by the end of 1995 is to further increase their numbers to 250,000. Enforcement efforts, both by police and volunteers, have increased littering reports from hundreds of tickets per year to about a thousand per month.

The Ministry of the Environment, in conjunction with other organizations, also organizes annual anti-litter campaigns, which feature press releases, radio programs, televised special service announcements, beach cleanups, and distribution of cleanliness stickers and posters in both Arabic and Hebrew.

Within the framework of the Abatement of Nuisances Law, 1961, regulations for the prevention of odors and air pollution from solid waste disposal sites were promulgated in 1990. The regulations prohibit the burning of waste in solid waste disposal sites and require operators to take all necessary means to prevent burning.

Public Health Regulations, in effect since March 1993, prohibit the burning of plastic films used in greenhouses and as plastic covering in agricultural fields and require their collection at the edge of the field for recycling or their transport by the owner to a landfill.

Abatement of Nuisances regulations which prohibit the burning and improper disposal of used oil were promulgated in 1993. Sellers, users and consumers of motor oil must collect used oil in specially-designated receptacles and must transport it for final disposal to the hazardous waste site in Ramat Hovav or to a recycling facility.

The Collection and Disposal of Waste for Recycling Law was passed in June 1993. The law provides the principles and framework for recycling. It authorizes local authorities, and obliges them when so required by the Minister of the Environment, to allocate sites for recycling centers and to install recycling facilities and containers. Municipalities are authorized to pass by-laws specifying procedures for the collection and disposal of waste for recycling, and business and home owners within a municipality operating recycling centers are required to install and maintain recycling containers in accordance with municipal directives. In order to facilitate the adoption of relevant by-laws by local authorities, the Ministry of the Environment has drafted a model by-law on the collection and disposal of waste for recycling. The model by-law was distributed to all local authorities in Israel.

The Minister of the Environment is authorized to promulgate regulations on implementation of the law, including types of waste for recycling, types of containers, etc. Regulations, at various stages of preparation or consideration, include: a waste recycling obligation requiring local authorities to prepare at least 10% of their waste for recycling by the beginning of 1995, rising gradually to 25% by the year 2000; a requirement to have manufacturers mark products with the accepted universal code indicating type of material as well as the appropriate emblem for recyclable or recycled material; bans on the introduction of scrap tires and unchopped yard waste into sanitary landfills; and a deposit program for returnable containers and bottles.