recycling- Moti Kimche
Kids are at the forefront of a grass-roots movement to encourage recycling in Israel. Photo by Moti Kimche
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Importers and manufacturers will be directly responsible for recycling the packaging of all products they sell, under a bill approved by the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee yesterday.

The legislative proposal will undergo its second and third readings into law in the Knesset plenum in a matter of days. If approved, it will come into force on March 1.

The bill states that a manufacturer or importer will have full responsibility for collecting and recycling the refuse from its packaging. The new law is expected to significantly reduce the volume of packaging materials used, and as a result will reduce the amount of waste. It will also encourage reuse and recycling, and reduce the amount of waste sent to dumps.

Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said Israel will now be joining the ranks of advanced nations: "Instead of burying raw materials worth a billion shekels in the ground every year, the packaging will be collected from citizens' homes and recycled. Implementing the law will add thousands of new jobs."

Erdan said the new law would enable the public to take an active part in the recycling process by separating their garbage into different garbage cans. The law will apply to materials such as paper, glass, plastic and metals. Importers and manufacturers will be required to gradually reach the level of recycling or reusing 60% of the weight of the total packaging they sell every year. Each type of material will have specific yearly recycling goals, but the total for collection and recycling must be no less than 60%.

Local authorities will be required to set rules requiring separating garbage into two types: organic and "dry."

The Environmental Protection Ministry will pay for the establishment of sorting and recycling infrastructure in all local authorities.

The fine for violating the law will be NIS 2,500 per ton of packaging that is not recycled or reused properly.

The final stage will come in 2020, when the law will require 100% recycling or reuse, including burning the materials to create energy - and dumping packaging will no longer be allowed.