E-Waste Law has become E-sham, government admits

By
June 8, 2016 17:23

E-Waste Law falling short of recycling goals set for coming years.

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bBarrels of electrical plugs and products collected by e-waste recycling company M.A.I.

bBarrels of electrical plugs and products collected by e-waste recycling company M.A.I.. (photo credit:COURTESY OF M.A.I)

It turns out the Electronic Waste Law has some serious shortcomings.

Yisrael Dancziger, director- general of the Environmental Protection Ministry, in a call for help at the Knesset’s Economic Affairs Committee on Tuesday, said that only six people are charged with enforcing the law nationally.

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He told the MKs that the ministry’s e-waste enforcement department consists of only two ministry employees, three part-time student workers and one external accountant.

“It’s incomprehensible that three student [workers] are in charge of the entire country’s enforcement, from [Tel] Dan to Eilat,” committee head Eitan Cabel said.

Cabel requested a detailed report from the ministry by September on how it is implementing the law, but did not mention a budget.

Dancziger also admitted during the meeting that there may have been inaccuracies in data on recycling reported to the public.

“Unfortunately, to my embarrassment, I cannot stand behind those figures and do not know if they are correct or not,” he said of the ministry’s report that 15 percent of e-waste was recycled in 2014 and 20% in 2015, the director- general said The Electronic Waste Law of 2014 set a goal for 35% of e-waste to be recycled by 2018 and 50% by 2021. It also requires importers and manufacturers to finance the mechanisms for treating their e-waste. Stores that sell electronics or batteries are supposed to accept old devices for disposal without additional payment when a customer buys a new device of the same kind.

One of the central issues causing the shortcomings, Dancziger said, was that a budget was never designated for the law. He asked the committee during the meeting for help laying out and allocating an appropriate budget.

Among the groups certified to collect and recycle used electronics and appliances is Ecommunity, which holds recycling contracts with several companies. The company’s CEO Tsahi Ein Gal criticized the ministry’s failure to enforce the law. Specifically, he mentioned a part of the legislation that gives preference to companies such as Ecommunity that employ people with disabilities or special needs.

“Recycling bodies will not be able to survive financially without enforcement and without more manufacturers and importers teaming up [with recycling companies],” Ein Gal said.

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