The Bank of Israel is advocating the extension of the NIS 0.10 fee for plastic bags to neighborhood grocery stores, small supermarket chains, and Super-Pharm, in view of its success in reducing the use of plastic bags by 80% at the large supermarket chains. In its current form, the fee does not apply to grocery stores and small supermarkets, which still distribute an estimated 860 million plastic bags a year.

The results of the fee show that wherever it is applied, the number of bags drops by 80%, regardless of the amount of the fee. Before the fee was imposed, supermarkets in Israel distributed two billion plastic bags a year, amounting to 275 bags per capita, a higher figure than in other countries worldwide. Plastic bags are made of material that does not decompose for hundreds of years, making the problem a very troublesome one for the environmental watchdogs. The decision to impose a special fee on the bags follows the positive results achieved when such a fee was imposed in other countries. Ireland…