The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee approved on Monday environmental regulations for the treatment of electronic waste that are to apply to the law set to take force on March 1.
The regulations are designed to determine in which cases it will be possible to exempt manufacturers, importers and marketers from abiding by the legislation. Although the Electronic Waste Law was originally supposed to come into force on January 1, the committee recently postponed the legislation’s implementation by two months, due to the fact that necessary regulations were not submitted on time.
The E-Waste Law, initiated by Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense) and promoted by MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and the Environmental Protection Ministry, passed its second and third readings in the Economic Affairs Committee in May 2012. The Environment Ministry submitted the regulations for approval on December 9, 2013, although they were technically due 11 months before.
Once implemented, the law mandates that manufacturers and importers of electronic goods recycle 50 percent of the total weight of electronic equipment they sell annually by the year 2021. Businesses that sell electronics would be required to accept old devices without additional payment when a consumer is buying a new device of the same kind.
In addition, the legislation requires that manufacturers and importers of batteries recycle 30% to 35% of their products, depending on the type of batteries sold, by 2019. Stores that sell batteries would be required to have battery disposal bins.
The bill also requires that importers and manufacturers finance the treatment mechanisms for the waste.
According to the newly approved regulations, only small businesses with a minimal amount of sales will be able to receive exemptions from abiding by the rules, the Environmental Protection Ministry explained.
“The bill regulates an intolerable situation of environmental pollution and waste of resources,” said Gilad Ostrovsky, head of waste and recycling for the non-governmental organization.
“Electronic waste is rich in heavy metals and chemicals that can cause environmental and health damage.”
Amit Bracha, the NGO’s executive director, welcomed the approval of the regulations, stressing that the new law “will enable Israel to ‘move up a rung’” as the country “transforms an environmental nuisance into an economic resource.”