The Environmental Protection Ministry has yet to release the regulations necessary to implement a new law that would require the 100,000 tons-plus of electronic waste Israel produces each year to be recycled.
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The ministry was supposed to submit the regulations to the Knesset for approval seven months ago.
Under the recycling law, due to take effect in January, manufacturers and importers of electronic equipment such as computers, cell phones and television sets will be required to recycle half of the total weight of the equipment they sell annually.
Electronic waste poses a serious pollution problem because it contains large quantities of toxic metals.
“Electronic waste constitutes a new and more complex recycling market that requires careful, professional preparation,” the ministry said, adding that it is “working round the clock to complete the drafting of the regulations and… get Knesset approval by the end of the year.”
The ministry has not prepared the local authorities on how to handle the electronic waste they will be required to collect from residents’ homes with the help of waste removal companies.
The municipalities will also be required to build recycling centers as part of the plan, and electronics retailers will be required to take back old electronic devices free of charge from customers purchasing new products of the same type.
The awaited regulations will determine exactly what types of waste will be accepted by the municipal recycling centers and which manufacturers and importers will be exempt from accepting old electronics because they operate on a small scale.
Since these guidelines have not been issued, there is real concern that the law will be impossible to implement come January. Some observers fear the ministry will try to get the Knesset to postpone the date the law takes effect.
M.A.I.-Electronics Recycling Corporation for Israel and Ecommunity are awaiting ministry approval as “compliance scheme” corporations for collecting and processing e-waste. Today there are a few small plants that recycle electronic waste from the few local authorities that have voluntarily set up e-waste collection sites.