Gov’t approves deposit for large bottles, expected to encourage recycling


People will soon be able to receive deposits for 1.5 liter plastic bottles for the first time, the Environmental Protection Ministry announced on Sunday. 

The current law regulating deposits came into effect in 2001. It determines a NIS 30 ‘agorot’ (agora = 1/100 of Israeli shekel) for bottles that contain less than 1.5 liters in volume. 

The decision has been delayed since early August, when Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel asked to postpone related discussions and conduct further research before submitting the ministry’s position to the High Court of Justice. 

The expansion of the law will allow customers to receive deposits for larger bottles for the first time and is expected to encourage more people to become involved in recycling. 

“We are creating history in Israel today,” Gamliel said. “The best way to clean public spaces from empty bottles and to encourage recycling is by applying a deposit for the larger bottles as well. This is the right step both from the environmental and economic standpoints. The deposit will save tens of millions of shekels and will decrease the cost-of-living for society, the economy and the environment.”

She added that “this is a win-win-win situation.” 

Chairwoman of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee MK Miki Haimovich (Blue and White) commented on the expansion of the deposits law and emphasized the positive outcomes it might have on the environment. 

“What an important decision! The Environmental Protection Ministry has finally decided to expand the deposit law to include large plastic bottles. This is an important step that may have a dramatic influence on our nature and the amount of garbage that we dump. It will also save money for local authorities, which has a huge social implication,” Haimovich said, adding that “it’s time to change the equation- Preserving nature and our ecological systems have a social and economic value as well.”

Greenpeace Israel released a statement congratulating the important decision, while noting that it still won’t be enough for cleaning Israel and getting rid of its plastic waste. 

“Expanding the deposit law in Israel will help reduce the amount of waste and will a significant milestone in completely prohibiting the use of disposable plastic that’s not considered essential,” the statement noted. “The decision reached by Minister Gamliel to apply the law on large bottles finally puts an end to the farce that’s been going on for years, and will finally allow Israel to realign with other advanced countries on this matter.” 

The statement concluded by calling on the Ministry to “adopt a much more ambitious policy” based on European directives pushing towards the ban of disposable plastic according to practical criteria, by next year.

In August the Environmental Protection Ministry announced the launch of a campaign calling on the public to reduce their use of disposable plastic. Titled “Disposable plastic – Not on my beach!,” the campaign included a video that aired on Israeli TV and called on the Israeli public to leave the disposable tableware at home and to instead use reusable products that will keep Israel’s beaches clean and plastic-free.