Plastic bottles to be sold for recycling are seen at a storage.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Deputy Interior Minister Yaron Mazuz demanded on Wednesday that authorities enforce stricter observance of the Bottle Deposit Law, arguing that NIS 30 million have been wasted due to lax enforcement.
“My examinations show that grocery stores, kiosks, convenience stores, and supermarkets like Tiv Tam, Shufersal Express, Super-Yoda, Super-Baba, AM:PM, etc. pose obstacles to citizens wishing to return bottles,” Mazuz wrote in a letter to Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabai on Wednesday.
Explaining that he has received many complaints on the matter, Mazuz told Gabai that many stores violate the law, presenting a variety of excuses as to why they cannot receive bottles.
Israel’s Bottle Deposit Law, which came into force in 2001, enables the public to return bottles of up to 1.5 liters to points of sale and receive the NIS 0.30 deposit refunds as marked on beverage containers.
In 2010, an amendment to the law stipulated that shops must be willing to take back at least 50 containers per person per day, subjecting them to a fine of up to NIS 1,800 for refusing to do so, according to the Environmental Protection Ministry.
The Israel Consumer Council likewise mandates that stores must refund bottle deposits during business hours or risk violating the law, Mazuz said.
Mazuz described one situation in which an AM:PM refused to allow a customer to reclaim a bottle deposit, simply because it was earlier than 8 a.m., and another case in which a Tiv Tam outlet declined to do so on a Saturday night.
“To my knowledge, it is almost impossible to return bottles to private kiosks,” he added.
In order to prevent harm to many members of the population, providing accessible places for bottle-deposit return is critical, Mazuz argued.
“There are citizens in need who rely on deposits in order to put food on their family tables – kiosks and chains cannot humiliate them in front of others under a mask of bureaucracy and procedures that do not comply with the law,” he said.
Citing data compiled by the ELA recycling corporation, the deputy interior minister said that 284 million containers – worth NIS 371.3m. – were collected via bottle deposits during the first half of 2015.
Nonetheless, 23 percent – or 87.3 million bottles – were not collected, meaning NIS 30m.
have been “thrown into the trash,” Mazuz said.
“These millions could help the weaker strata of Israeli society,” he continued, “we need to encourage business and citizens to recycle. We must place electronic machines across the country in order to facilitate the collection and return of bottle deposits, so that everyone can do so easily and simply.”
In response to Mazuz’s letter, the Environmental Protection Ministry said that the office is “currently examining solutions for the continued implementation of the Bottle Deposit Law, and the minister is expected to make a decision on the subject after all the data are presented to him.”