Waste Products in Israeli Agriculture

Research and Development for producing waste products from garbage separated at source
January 31, 2015

Israel is one of the world's most advanced countries working in research on the use of effluents for irrigation. More than 90% of Israel's wastewater is purified to reach a standard suitable for irrigation and more than 80% of the treated water is used for irrigating agricultural crops. The waste products' potential for agricultural purposes constitutes an additional field for future consideration, as it connects agriculture and the environment. Israel's Ministry of Environmental Protection recently adopted a strategy calling for the separation of wet waste flow (organic) and dry waste at individual households. This decision is now being implemented by selected local authorities, as well as at the Dudaim Waste site, which will absorb the garbage after separating the organic flow from the dry waste. This decision paves the way for the use of the wet waste flow as raw material in preparing high-quality compost for agriculture, and the dry waste can be broken down into its various constituents for reclamation and recycling to yield valuable materials of the highest quality and produce suitable commodities from waste products.

In general, this research aims to significantly reduce the volume of waste buried at waste disposal sites and use the waste products as raw materials in producing other commodities.  The proposed research will enable the products from the wet waste flow to be used rationally in agriculture. Among other issues, the research will increase further the relevant basic knowledge and its adaptation to the conditions in Israel while focusing on its applicable aspects. This type of comprehensive research should encourage and establish the agricultural use of waste products owing to the farmers' confidence in Israel's agricultural research institutions and the excellent communications between agricultural research, the farmers and the professional agricultural extension service (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development). Moreover, the research shall enable a program to be applied for initiatives concerning the use of waste products, especially from the dry waste intake, as raw material for producing consumer commodities.

Research topics on the uses of waste products offer many possibilities relating to their preparation as raw material as part of the effort to achieve greater effectiveness for optimal plant growth on the one hand, while on the other hand, to ensure that the waste's constituents are not harmful. Different additives to the wet waste may be examined for their maximum suitability for agriculture, including its diverse branches. In this research crops for which waste products may be suitable are to be identified and modified. As far as the technological aspect is concerned fast and efficient systems to assess the quality of the raw material up to the stage when the product is ready for agricultural use, may be checked.  Furthermore, the agrotechnical factors applying to the addition of waste products and how they affect the soil's physical-chemical properties should be examined.  

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