Environmentally friendly bag (Illustrative).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Israel may be getting closer to charging a fee for plastic bags after members of Knesset met on Monday but some worry the cheap price that has been proposed may not achieve the desired goal.
The latest version of the legislation debated by the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee would require a 10-agorot fee per disposable plastic bag and outlawing anything thinner than 20 microns.
Previous versions of the bill had called for a higher, 40-agorot fee and would have given members of the public one free reusable bag.
Lawmakers said at the meeting they would accept written comments from the public until February 25.
Some, however, feel that the bill’s current proposed fee is too cheap to be effective. Maya Jacobs, CEO of environmental NGO Zalul, said that a minimum fee of 30 agorot would be needed to influence shoppers to forgo the plastic bag and bring their own.
Shoppers will quickly become desensitized to the fee, and an extra NIS 1 will seem like nothing for a shopper requiring 10 bags, she said.
Another problem with the bill is that it only applies to large supermarkets, ignoring many smaller shops, Jacobs said.
“Every month that legislation is delayed, another 166.5 million bags are given out,” she said.
According to the Environmental Protection Ministry, plastic bags account for about 30 percent of the country’s total waste, three times the global average. As of 2015, Israelis used about 275 plastic bags per capita each year, totaling approximately 2.2 billion bags annually for the entire country.