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Israel must make eco-friendly tableware cheaper than plastic disposables - opinion

The tax on plastic products made life difficult for large families and institutions, but reducing the cost of ecological alternative products could work better.

The new government’s decision to cancel the sales tax on single-use plastic tableware was bad news for anyone who cares about the environment. This week, we are calling on the government to redress the inequality of import tariffs to make biodegradable plates, cups and silverware more affordable than plastic disposable products.

Currently, single-use plastic imports are not taxed but Israel’s customs officers impose import tariffs of up to 20% on biodegradable alternative items. These rules are now under review, with new tariff announcements due February 15. In order to rescue the Israeli environment from the plague of plastic waste, we need to tax harmful products more, and eco-friendly products less. Changing these import duty rules would reduce the price of biodegradable products and encourage consumers to end their dependency on single-use plastic.

In 2021, Israeli consumption of disposable plastic utensils was five times the average of Europe. Political pressure recently forced the new government to cancel the extra sales tax on single-use plastic tableware, introduced in November 2021, and the new Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman is reportedly looking for new ways to reduce our dependency on disposables.

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