Text size

The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee yesterday approved a bill that would prohibit stores from dispensing plastic bags for free.

The bill is an amended version of a legislative proposal tabled by MK Esterina Tartman, which would have entirely banned the distribution of the ubiquitous plastic bag.

If the bill becomes law, stores will be allowed to offer only non-disposable bags for sale. A NIS 67,000 fine will be levied for production or import of non-regulation plastic bags, and businesses that ignore the prohibition will be subject to a fine of NIS 27,000. The law would be enforced by the Minister of Industry and Trade.

Internal Affairs and Environment Committee chair Ophir Pines-Paz announced that if following the approval, manufacturers and business owners are willing to make voluntary arrangements to sell plastic bags instead of distributing them free of charge, the committee would consider waiving the bill.

Leon Israeli, CEO of plastic bag maker Leon Plastic, suggested that Israel follow the examples of France and Italy, where plastic bags are sold and marked with a barcode.

A Justice Ministry representative, however, warned of constitutional conflicts as the law would impair the freedom of occupation of plastic bag manufacturers and shopkeepers, and might damage consumer rights as well.