created at: 2012-08-10

Dr. Alon Tal, Chairman of the Committee for Sustainable Development & JNF-KKL International Board member, was the featured speaker at a JNF luncheon forum, “Introducing Product Stewardship to Israel’s Environmental Community.” Co-presenter was Scott Cassel, Executive Director of the Product Stewardship Institute & member of the New England Zone Board of Directors. Dozens of environmental leaders attended the event, generously hosted by New England Zone President, Larry Cohen, and Edwards, Angell, Palmer & Dodge, LLP.

The three-year initiative challenges Israel’s environmental community to minimize excess packaging waste, encourages reuse, recycling and landfill waste reduction.  By fostering collaboration among Israeli manufacturers, retailers, government agencies and non-governmental agencies, the initiative aims to reduce health and environmental impacts, minimize energy and material consumption, air and water emissions, product toxicity and waste disposal. 

Alon’s career has been a balance between academia and public interest advocacy.  He has represented Israel’s Foreign Ministry at the United Nations Convention to combat Desertification and is Associate Professor of Environmental Policy at Ben-Gurion University.  In addition to founding the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, he is well-published.  Dr. Tal was awarded the Charles Bronfman Humanitarian Prize for environmental leadership, utilizing his $100,000 prize money to fund the Tal Fund, a grassroots ecological initiative in Israel in conjunction with the Jewish National Fund.

Scott Cassel has worked on product and water management issues for the past 25 years.  In the past he served as the Director of Waste Policy and Planning for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, and is a founding Board Member and past president of the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association.

On April 25, Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a draft Packaging Law, paving the way for a “stewardship” approach to Israel’s environmental problems.  According to the law, by 2014, Israeli manufacturers and importers will be expected to recycle 60% of the total weight of the packaging of product s they sell or import each year.  Currently, about 5.4 million tons of municipal solid waste is generated in Israel each year, with 20 percent as a result of packaging waste.  The waste leads to increased emissions of greenhouse gases while taking up valuable landfill space.

For further information or to learn how you can participate in this initiative, please contact Sharon Freedman at

Photo (l-r):  Sharon Freedman, Scott Cassel, Larry Cohen, Alon Tal

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