The Knesset plenum passed in its first reading the Bill for Environmental Care of Electric and Electronic Equipment and Batteries, 2012, filed by the government.

Two similar bills by Knesset Members Dov Khenin (Hadash) and Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), were supposed to be voted on in a preliminary reading, and were pulled out of the plenum. According to the initiator, Khenin, this was ”Due to a mistake in the Legislative Minister`s Committee, which caused them to oppose Horowitz`s bill.”

The bill’s explanation states: ”The waste is an unavoidable result of modern human society. The population growth and rise in standard of living and level of consumption claim a heavy environmental cost, stemming from the overuse of natural resources, greenhouse gas emissions and the accumulation of consumption waste.

”Every year Israeli cities create 4.8 million tons of waste. Adding in industrial waste, the number grows to 6.2 million tons a year. The amount of waste grows yearly at a rate of 3-5%. As of 2009 every resident created, every day, an average of 1.6kg of garbage. Out of all the waste which the State of Israel creates, in 2009, 75% of the waste gathered in garbage dumps and 25% went to recycling. This situation is the opposite of that in most of the European Union countries, in which most of the waste is recycled and only a small part dumped.

”In modern consumer culture, which is on a constant rise, and in the technological era in which we live, the use of electronic and electric appliances among consumers is rising, as is the frequency with which the products are replaced. This leads to a large and growing amount of electronic and electric appliance waste.

”The central idea in the Ministry of Environmental Protection regarding treatment of solid wasted is turning it from a nuisance into a resource, and to restrict the amount of waste that goes to dumps. This will be done using a joint solution of currently-existing hierarchies of recycling, which must be used before the transition to the next step.

”Most EU countries implemented a system based on the idea of ”extended producer responsibility”, in which the responsibility for recycling is laid on the manufacturers of electronic appliances and batteries.

”It should be noted that in Israel`s environmental activity report from November 2011, prepared by the OECD (which Israel joined in May 2010), it was advised that Israel widen the ”extended producer responsibility” mechanism to other types of wasted, including electronic and electric waste and batteries.”

”The bill proposes to make arrangements for environmental treatment of electronic waste and used batteries, in order to support reuse of electronic equipment, reduce the amount of waste produced from electronic appliances, and to shrink the negative environmental effects of electronic equipment and its waste.

”The bill includes comprehensive arrangements for the treatment of electronic waste and used batteries in Israel, based on the central idea of extended producer responsibility, according to which the responsibility for treating electronic or electric equipment waste lies with the producer who sells it.

”Israel`s affiliation with a company of states who implement arrangements for the environmental treatment of electronic waste and used batteries will put Israel in the place of an advanced country on an environmental level, and one which acts according to internationally-advised practices.”

18 MKs supported the bill, which passed with no opposition. The bill will move to the Economics Committee in preparation for its second and third readings.