The Philippines bolsters EPR law requiring businesses to recover 20% of plastic packaging waste
26 Jan 2023 --- The Philippines has added a law to its Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) Act of 2022 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which requires businesses to recover their plastic packaging waste.
Companies with a total asset of over ₱100 million (US$1.8 million) will be required to create a system to recover 20% of the plastic waste they produced from the previous year. Those who fail to comply will pay a fine from ₱5 million (US$91,644) to ₱20 million (US$366,578).
“Companies shall be responsible for allocating resources to support the collection, recovery, transportation, processing, recycling and disposal of plastic packaging wastes in environmentally sound ways,” says Philippines environment secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga.
Businesses become liable
Jonas Leones, the DENR undersecretary for policy, planning, and international affairs, led a series of public consultations for the law in different regions across the country to create an easier transition for corporations to start collecting their waste.
“The consultation solicited insights and contributions from the different sectors, including NGOs, academic institutions, local government units and the private sector. Among the private sector representatives were sanitary landfill operators, manufacturing corporations and recycling and upcycling companies,” he says.
Yulo-Loyzaga said implementing the EPR law is crucial to the Philippines’ transition to the circular economy.
“The EPR law will also help in advancing a circular economy that mitigates climate change and protects our life-supporting ecosystems by avoiding or minimizing pollution while maximizing the use of materials.”
However, the proper participation of businesses is vital for the law’s success. The collection scheme will fail if the companies do not abide properly. “The success of the implementation of the EPR law heavily depends on the cooperation and compliance of the private sector,” adds Leones.
The companies will be required to register their information regarding their waste collection online.
The Philippines joins the United States, Canada, Japan, Singapore, India, South Korea, Chile, Mexico, Columbia, Peru and Brazil as countries that promote EPR.
In 2018, the DENR dedicated ₱1.25 billion (US$23 million) out of a national budget of ₱27 billion (US$495 million) for the environmental protection program for clean water, air and solid waste management.
However, the Philippines has been facing a plastic packaging issue for years.
The plastic market in the Philippines was above US$1.3 billion in 2016, with a compounded annual growth rate of 6.11% (forecast for 2018-2023). The plastic used for packaging was approximately 48% (2017) of total plastic waste, with packaging waste the major contributor to marine litter and plastic pollution, according to a report by Sea Circular.
According to DENR, the Philippines was the third largest contributor to ocean waste in 2015, with about 0.75 million metric tons of plastic ending up in coastal areas in Manila Bay annually.
The Philippines aims to promote 60% recovery and recycling of plastic by 2030 and offers opportunities for the private sector for technology transfer and assimilation in plastic waste management, particularly for different plastic waste streams.
In a bid to do so, the Polystyrene Packaging Council of the Philippines, a group of 21 foam polystyrene producers, set up a recycling plant.
The Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability, a multi-sectoral coalition composed of top consumer goods companies, also plans to build a ₱25 million (US$458 million) recycling facility for sachets in Metro Manila.
By Sabine Waldeck
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