Did you choose to consume disposable plastic utensils? From today, a purchase tax will be imposed on them

Did you choose to consume disposable plastic utensils? From today, a purchase tax will be imposed on them
Did you choose to consume disposable plastic utensils? From today, a purchase tax will be imposed on them

Purchase tax will be levied starting today (Monday) on disposable plastic utensils at a rate of NIS 11 per kilogram. The tax will apply to the production and import of these utensils, including personal imports, in order to double the final price to the consumer and thus reduce consumption of these polluting products. The tax is imposed in accordance with Government Decision 261 regarding the reduction of the use of disposable plastic utensils from 1 August 2021 and is set in the Customs Tariff and Exemption Tax on Goods (Amendment No. 3), published on 19 October 2021.

The tax will apply to cups, plates, bowls, cutlery and straws in accordance with the thickness test as specified in the Customs Tariff Order, so that vessels lower than the thresholds set in the order will be dissolved: cup, plate, serving plate and bowl – up to 2 mm; Fork, knife, spoon and teaspoon – up to 1.2 mm; straw – up to 1 mm. Vessels made of styrofoam will melt in any case, regardless of thickness.

Disposable utensils in general and utensils containing plastic in particular, are inherently short-lived and quickly turn, after one use, into waste that causes significant environmental damage. This waste takes up increasing space in landfills, leads to increased cleaning and garbage disposal costs, and causes pollution of the sea, open spaces and public space.

The volume of household consumption of disposable plastic utensils in Israel is particularly high: 7.5 kg per capita per year – five times the household consumption in Europe. .

A study conducted for the Ministry of Environmental Protection and characterizing the sensitivity of demand to the prices of disposable utensils found that imposing a tax in a way that would double the price to the final consumer is expected to reduce consumption by about 40%. The EU has chosen to completely ban the use of many types of disposable plastic utensils. Contrary to the European approach, in Israel, at this stage it was decided not to ban the use of disposable tools, but to direct behavior through an economic move.

The imposition of the tax will allow for a change in behavior in a flexible manner, while maintaining a space for choice and possible alternatives, such as reusable tools. In addition, the imposition of a tax on the purchase of polluting components is in line with the “polluter pays” principle, so that anyone who chooses to consume disposable utensils will bear the cost of the environmental damage in proportion to the extent of his consumption.

The Minister of Environmental Protection, Tamar Zandberg, said: “Israel is addicted to disposable plastic and it is time to quit. The benefit of disposable containers is short-term for the consumers who purchase them, but they produce environmental damage that the entire economy suffers from, for many years to come. “Wasteful use of disposable utensils has become a losing habit of consuming a harmful product, which in economic terms constitutes a market failure and therefore requires government intervention – as is done by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.”

For a quantitative report summarizing the consumption of disposable tools in Israel, click here

Photo: freepik
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