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Econ Affairs C'tee approves 2-month postponement of E-Waste Law
By SHARON UDASIN
01/08/2014
Necessary regulations were not submitted on time to implement law by January 1.
 
The Economic Affairs Committee on Wednesday postponed the implementation of the Electronic Waste Law two months, due to the fact that necessary regulations were not submitted on time.

Although the E-Waste Law was supposed to come into force on January 1, the legislation is instead take hold on March 1, the committee announced on Wednesday morning.

MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas), who was acting a chairman of the committee instead of MK Avishay Braverman (Labor), stressed that the decision is due to the fact that the regulations associated with the law were not submitted in time to allow for public debate. The Environmental Protection Ministry submitted the regulations on December 9, 2013.

The law, initiated by Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense) and promoted by MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and the Environment Ministry, passed its second and third readings in the Economic Affairs Committee in May 2012. The bill stipulates that manufacturers and importers of electronic goods must recycle 50 percent of the total weight of electronic equipment they sell annually by the year 2021.

In addition, the legislation requires that manufacturers and importers of batteries must recycle 30% to 35% of their products, depending on the type of batteries sold, by 2019.

The committee’s legal adviser, Eti Bendler, reminded discussion participants on Wednesday morning that the Electronic Waste Law was published at the end of July 2012, and that the Environmental Protection Ministry had been required to submit regulations within six months of that date. Submitting the regulations by January 1, 2013, as planned would have allowed the committee sufficient time to hold discussions about them and approve them on time, Bendler explained.

Instead, the Environment Ministry took a year-and-a-half to work on the regulations, while the committee was left with only a month for discussion, Vaknin said.

While the ministry did submit the regulations only a short time before the date the law was slated to take force, the tardiness was due to their complexity and the need for thorough professional evaluations, said Environmental Protection Ministry deputy director-general Yoram Horowitz.

In a letter sent to Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz and Braverman on Tuesday night, MK Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid) wrote how important the law is, as it will bring about “a significant reduction of the amount of electronic waste dumped into landfill sites, which often leads to the pollution of the environment and groundwater.”

Kariv asked that the committee members implement the law without further delay.

At the committee meeting on Wednesday, MK Dov Henin (Hadash) accused the ministry of acting in an unsound manner, stressing that when a date for the entrance of law is determined, a promise is being made to the public. Henin called for the committee to shorten the two-month delay.

While Vaknin agreed that the implementation of the law is important, he said that required procedures – particularly the hearing regarding the recently submitted regulations – must take place.

In response to a query from The Jerusalem Post following Wednesday’s decision, the Environmental Protection Ministry said: “The Electronic Waste Law is too important and essential to delay excessively, and therefore, we will work in cooperation with all the bodies involved in order to implement it within two months.”
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