Local government officials warn that the move is improperly funded, and may require hikes in municipal taxes to pay for them.
By Zafrir Rinat

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Monday approved a government-sponsored bill mandating that electronic scrap be recycled, paving the way for a Knesset vote on the issue.

The bill joins several others on recycling packaging, tires and soft-drink bottles, as well as regulations to separate organic waste ‏(food remnants‏), which are to be passed shortly.
Recycling plant – Abdullah Shama – February 2012

The Zohar Recycling plant in Acre yesterday.
Photo by: Abdullah Shama

The Environmental Protection Ministry sees these bills as an environmental revolution, but local government officials warn that the moves are improperly funded, and may require hikes in municipal taxes to pay for them.

The bill approved on Sunday states that within five years, manufacturers and importers of electronic equipment will have to collect and recycle 40 percent of the weight of the electronic equipment they have sold or imported per year. The government-sponsored bill is to be unified with another bill on recycling electronic waste, presented by MK Nitzan Horowitz ‏(Meretz‏). That bill, which Horowitz initiated together with the Union for Environmental Defense, would allow consumers to return products to the stores where they bought them, and the stores would then send them to be recycled.

There are only a few industries in Israel that currently collect and recycle electronic scrap. One such company is located at Kibbutz Yasur and employs people with special needs who turn the materials into usable products.

Another is Zohar Recycling Industries in Acre. “We take in thousands of tons of refuse containing products like computers or military communications equipment,” Arthur Hirschfeld, a company director, said yesterday, adding that the company then extracts metals such as gold, copper and aluminum and sells them to factories in Israel or abroad.

The business is “definitely profitable,” Hirschfeld said.

According to the Union for Environmental Defense, Israel produces about 100,000 tons of electronic scrap per year. The toxic metals in the scrap constitute an environmental hazard, but most of them can be recycled, the group says.
Gilad Ostrovsky, of the Union for Environmental Defense, says: “The law requires importers and manufacturers to reach a collection quota and therefore they will be willing to pay more to the recycling company. We see that such moves have already influenced the big companies, which are now making equipment that can be dismantled for recycling.”

According to the Environmental Protection Ministry’s Tal Shohat, rather than consumers putting electronic scrap in collection bins like other recyclable materials, they will bring them to centers or back to the store where they bought them.

“We support these moves and understand them, but we are very concerned that this has happened too quickly and local authorities will not be able to manage,” Shlomo Dolberg, director general of the Union of Local Authorities in Israel, said Sunday, referring to the cost of building the necessary infrastructure.
Dolberg points out as an example the bill for recycling packaging, which, he says, places greater financial responsibility on the local authorities than on the industries. He says that local authorities fear they will have to raise municipal taxes to paytheir share.

The Union of Local Authorities says that the bill mandating the separation of organic waste would require a collection and separation system that would cost almost NIS 1 billion. The agency says the money the Environmental Protection Ministry is contributing toward the cost is not enough.

According to Dolberg, the Environmental Protection Ministry is trying to achieve in a few years what it took Europe a decade to accomplish, and that more long-term and comprehensive planning is required.

The Environmental Protection Ministry says it is planning a number of moves that will help local authorities deal with recycling. More than NIS 300 million have been given to 31 local authorities recently to separate dry and wet waste. Funding was also provided to plan and built recycling facilities for the separated waste.

“We’ve given quite a long time for getting organized, about 10 years, for separating and treating organic waste. Local authorities very much wanted to get in on the process and we had to reject some requests,” Shohat said, adding that the project would be started in major population centers.

Naama Ashur, head of the waste department the Environmental Protection Ministry, said she understands the concerns of the local authorities, but adds:

“They will really have to undergo a change, and instead of depending on one contractor for all garbage removal, they will have to separate it. But that will require them to streamline and in the end it might not cost more. One thing is for sure − we can’t remain where we are today.”


Cabinet supports ‘e-waste’ bill – Jerusalem Post

By SHARON UDASIN 02/20/2012 04:09
Legislation will require retailers to accept old electronics devices, recycle used batteries.
batteries must be properly disposed of By Illustrative photo/Recycling Supply
The cabinet on Sunday approved government support for a bill proposed by the Environmental Protection Ministry that would require producers of electronics and batteries to finance their eventual disposal and waste treatment.

The “e-waste” bill was initiated by Adam Teva V’Din – Israel Union for Environmental Defense, and has been promoted by both the Environmental Protection Ministry and MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz).

By placing responsibility for proper disposal of the electronic goods on their manufacturers, the government can reduce both health and environmental hazards, the Environment Ministry said.

If approved by the Knesset, the bill would require that manufacturers and importers of electric goods recycle 50 percent of the total weight of electronic equipment they sell annually, and that manufacturers and importers of batteries recycle 25 to 35%, depending on the type of battery sold.

Businesses that sell electronics would be required to accept old devices without additional payment when a consumer is buying a new device of the same kind, and stores that sell batteries would be required to have battery disposal bins.

By 2020, sending electronic equipment that has not been recycled or reused to landfills would be illegal, according to the bill.

“In modern times there is a huge increase in the replacement purchasing of electronic products,” Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said. “Televisions, refrigerators or computers are discarded, hurting our health and environment.

The bill will regulate for the first time the treatment mechanisms for waste generated by electronics and will require manufacturers and importers of products to finance these treatment mechanisms.”

The bill would also encourage the reuse of electronic equipment and is another step by the ministry’s to deal with solid waste, which of late have included implementing a Packaging Law and arranging separation of waste at source in private homes, according to the ministry. Every year, billions of electrical products are manufactured and only a small minority are recycled and refurbished, the ministry reported.

In 2010, the ministry estimated that the annual electronic waste in Israel weighed about 85,000 tons.

Adam Teva V’Din executive director Amit Bracha praised Erdan and Horowitz for getting the legislation off the ground.

“This is the launch of a dramatic bill that is part of the recycling revolution promoted by Minister Erdan, which will transform the environmental nuisance of piles of electronic waste into an economic resource, strengthen the recycling industry and provide employment opportunities,” Bracha said.