Plastic shopping bags (illustrative)
Plastic shopping bags (illustrative) iStock

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) has submitted to the Knesset's Interior Committee a report on the implementation of the Plastic Bags Law, Maariv reported.

According to the report, in 2020, 495 million plastic bags were sold to customers by large chain stores, representing a 75% decrease since 2016, when 1.75 billion plastic shopping bags were provided to customers.

The Plastic Bags Law went into effect in 2017, and that same year, 378 million plastic bags were sold to customers, representing a 78.4% drop in the first year of the law's implementation.

Currently, the law only applies to large chain stores, and each year there is a slight rise in the use of plastic bags. As a result, Zandberg is considering policy changes aimed at reducing the number of disposable bags used.

One of the changes under discussion would require all stores, including small businesses, to charge for plastic bags.

In a statement, Zandberg said: "As part of the State of Israel's process of weaning itself from plastic, we are committed to ensuring a dramatic reduction in the consumption of plastic shopping bags. I will work to advance supplemental legislation to prevent the distribution for free of [plastic] bags in the entire Israeli market."

Elad Amichai, a senior Environmental Protection Ministry official and the one responsible for the the law, said: "The Ministry will continue with education and enforcement activities in order to ensure a low consumption rate for plastic shopping bags. We visit large chain stores, importers, and storage rooms, and we will not agree to any violation of the Plastic Bags Law."

The fees for single-use plastic bags are used for cleaning beaches, encouraging the use of reusable bags, and environmental education, Maariv added.

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