DENR says only 17 percent of PH companies complying with law on plastics | Inquirer News

DENR says only 17 percent of PH companies complying with law on plastics

By: - Content Researcher Writer / @inquirerdotnet
/ 02:18 PM November 14, 2023

DENR says only 17 percent of PH companies complying with law on plastics


MANILA, Philippines—With plastic waste getting out of control in the Philippines, a new law came to light—the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act, which was expected to hold companies responsible for the plastics they use.

But over a year since, most companies, or Obliged Enterprises, required to have and implement a program for the proper management of their plastic packaging wastes, have yet to comply.


READ: Businesses urged to comply with EPR, decrease plastic footprint

As the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said, out of the 4,000 big companies in the Philippines, only 709 have taken the significant step of presenting their EPR plans designed to achieve efficient management of plastic packaging waste:

  • Elimination of unnecessary packaging of products
  • Development of reusable and recyclable packaging design
  • Recovery of plastic packaging from the trash, which can be reused or recycled back into the production process

It is required by law that Obliged Enterprises, or companies with total assets exceeding P100 million, should register their plastic waste management programs with the National Solid Waste Management Commission.


GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

RELATED STORY: EPR: To reduce plastic waste

As pointed out, however, by Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones, more companies are expected to submit their plans once they better understand how to operationalize modes of implementation into their businesses.

This, as he acknowledged that EPR programs are relatively new to a lot of companies.

As stated in the law, Obliged Enterprises should recover 20 percent of the plastics they use.

by the end of 2023 with incremental targets for fulfillment each year, until 80 percent is reached by 2028.

Leaked waste

It was pointed out by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that “plastic pollution has reached gigantic dimensions all over the world” and is expected to “cause significant ecological risks.”


READ: Punish violators of plastic waste law

Based on data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 2.15 million metric tons of plastics are consumed by Filipinos every year, with 35 percent leaked into the open environment, while only two percent are recovered as RDF, or refuse derived fuel.


GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

Some 33 percent is disposed of in sanitary landfills and open dumps, and only nine percent is recycled because of the lack of capacity to recycle both high- and low-value plastics.

As the UNEP said, “for every dollar that producers pay for plastic, governments and society will pay at least 10 times as much to remedy its countless negative impacts, with the lifetime cost of only the plastic produced in 2019 estimated at $3.7 trillion.”

Based on a study commissioned by WWF Philippines in 2020, “there was a need to improve the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000” because of these challenges:

  • Limited separation and recycling activities at the source
  • Limited number of recycling facilities
  • High volume of low-value plastics and non-recyclables

Strengthened law

The UNEP pointed out that the EPR law, or RA No. 11898, emerged as a supplement and amendment to the existing RA No. 9003, especially because of the factors that challenged the latter’s implementation.

“The EPR scheme should be a balance of upstream and downstream solutions,” it said.

RELATED STORY: EPR law on plastic waste will succeed as all sectors work together

“We all have tasks to make this system work, and we call on all to participate in this journey of finding an inclusive, integrative, and impactful solution to reduce plastic waste pollution,” the UNEP stressed.

The EPR is “necessary to create a circular economy for packaging material.”

It was pointed out that through the EPR, Obliged Enterprises that introduce plastic packaging to the market will fund the collection and processing of post-consumer packaging.

READ: From waste pickers to eco-partners

Obliged Enterprises, expected to be responsible for the reduction of the environmental impact of their products, can initiate these to prepare for the implementation of their EPR plans:

  • Eliminate unnecessary packaging
  • Improve packaging design (eco-design)
  • Improve product labels
  • Eliminate the need for packaging where possible by allowing reuse/refilling
  • Manage post-consumer packaging

Incentivized compliance

As provided by the law, in case of failure to meet the targets set in Section 44-F, the Obliged Enterprise shall pay fine twice the cost of recovery and diversion of the footprint or its shortfall, whichever is higher:

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  • P5 million to P10 million for the first offense
  • P10 million to P15 million for the second offense
  • P15 million to P20 million for the third offense

However, the DENR said it will work on incentivizing compliance and is ready to assist Obliged Enterprises, and even micro, small and medium enterprises in registering their EPR plans.

RELATED STORY: DENR: Support solid waste management industry, EPR law

TAGS: Extended Producer Responsibility Act, INQFocus, plastic pollution, Solid Waste Management Act

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