Recycling Station 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The proposed Packaging Law was approved for its second and third (final)
readings by the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Monday
after dozens of hours of discussions spent hammering out the details.
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main thrust of the bill is to shift responsibility for recycling to
manufacturers and importers over the entire lifetime of the product – including
recycling its packaging.
The legislation represents a serious upgrade to
the recycling system. Currently, paper, plastic bottles and glass bottles from
restaurants and other establishments that are recycled under the Deposit Law are
the easiest for the user to recycle.
Cans, electronics, batteries and CDs
can be dropped off at some urban recycling centers but are not as accessible as
the receptacles that have been set up on city streets for paper and plastic
The Packaging Law will require an entirely new system for people
to dispose of their garbage – source separation.
Residents will be
provided with suitable trash cans to separate their garbage into “wet” and
“Wet” trash is anything organic, while “dry” is the rest, much of
which will now be dealt with under the Packaging Law.
Quotas have been
set for types of trash over the next four years. The legislation will outlaw
interring any sort of packaging in landfills by 2020.
represents about a million out of the 4 million-5 million tons of urban waste
Israelis generate per year, according to the Environmental Protection Ministry.
It represents a large proportion of the volume in landfills.
The goal is
to recycle at least 60 percent of packaging within four years. Specifically, the
goal is to recycle at least 60% of cardboard and paper, 50% of glass, 22.5% of
plastic and 12% of wood by 2014.
The Federation of Chambers of Commerce
complained that the six months given to begin implementing the legislation after
it becomes law was not enough time to set up a corporation to deal with the
recycling of packaging and to institute source separation.
also argued for, and received, clarification that administrative fines and
penalties would be instituted before criminal ones.
Protection Minister Gilad Erdan lauded the development.
“Israel joins the
most advanced countries in the world today. Instead of burying in the ground raw
materials worth NIS 1 billion every year, the packaging will be collected from
residents’ houses and recycled. Implementing the law will add thousands of new
jobs and placing responsibility for recycling on the manufacturers and importers
will allow the public to take an active part in the recycling process, through
separating garbage into different trash bins,” Erdan said in a
Several European countries adopted a packaging law over a
decade ago, and some, such as Belgium, have reached recycling rates of
The ministry estimates that the law will generate 20,000- 50,000
jobs at a rate of 10-15 new positions per 1,000 tons of waste.
Bracha, head of the Israel Union for Environmental Defense (Adam, Teva V’din),
praised Erdan for pushing the bill through to its final readings.
private member’s bill that was partly written by IUED was merged with the
government- backed measure during the committee’s
“Approving the Packaging Law in the Knesset plenum will be
an important step in completing the recycling revolution in Israel. There is no
doubt that this law, in conjunction with the Deposit Law and a bill regarding
electronic waste that is being promoted now, will put Israel on the list of
Western countries that understand the importance of dealing with waste and
understand its value as a resource,” Bracha said in a statement.
has made waste treatment one of the top five goals of his
Meanwhile, the Ela recycling corporation has posted an
interactive map to help people find the recycling receptacles closest to their
home. The map can be found on the corporation’s website, www.ela.org.il.