MembersThe Rise and Fall of the Plastic Bag

Single-use disposable plastic bags have been suffocating the Land of Israel for decades.

By Israel Today Staff |
OUT OF THE BAG: A surcharge on the pesky plastic bag is a boon for the environment Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90

They are a disgraceful scar on some of the most majestic landscapes and waterways where they choke fish, animals and birds.

Weaning Israelis off their plastic bag habit was deemed an impossible task. The population uses 2.2 billion bags every year, an environmental disaster in this small country.

But now, the government of Israel has enacted a new law aimed at motivating Israelis to use environmentally friendly reusable bags by requiring consumers to pay 10 agorot (about 3 cents) per plastic bag. Amazingly, just two weeks after shoppers were told they’d have to pay, big supermarket chains reported a whopping 80 percent reduction in plastic bag usage.

“When the bags were free, people paid no attention to them and would put a single item in each bag,” Rami Levy, founder of a major supermarket chain, told the Haaretz newspaper. “Today, because they have to pay for them and it’s being talked about in the media, awareness has grown a lot and so have environmental considerations. People are putting several items in...

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