New law: Israel shoppers will have to pay for plastic shopping bags

Law passes almost two years after initiative introduced

Plastic Bags in Bare Tree [illustrative] (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Plastic Bags in Bare Tree [illustrative]
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Two years after it was first proposed, the Knesset voted in favor of a law that will charge a 10 agorot fee for plastic bags at all the large supermarket chains around the country beginning in 2017. The law also bans very thin plastic bags of less than 20 microns altogether.
It came only hours after the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee on Monday approved the first reading of the bill.
The money collected from the free will go toward the ministry’s Cleanliness Maintenance Fund that goes toward projects to reduce air pollution as well as public awareness campaigns.
The bill initially proposed in 2014 would have charged 60 agorot per bag and provided a free reusable bag to consumers. A later version of the bill, which would have charged 30 agorot per bag, was approved by the Knesset plenary in the first reading on October 2014, but eventually was shelved when the government fell apart. It was later resurrected after the formation of the current government.
Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay said that the bill will help protect the environment “without placing a burden on the cost of living.”
The ministry estimates that Israeli consumers use over 2.2 billion plastic bags each year, adding that large supermarket chains spend NIS 88 million annually on plastic bags and tack the cost onto the price of products.