With strong economic growth and increased consumer demand, the Philippines generates an enormous amount of plastic waste that puts ecosystems and development at risk. According to studies by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, approximately 7,000 to 15,000 tons of plastic waste are generated per day. In a 2019 World Bank study, it was also reported that around 70% of the material value of plastics is lost to the Philippine economy each year, equivalent to a value loss of USD 790-890 million per year.
The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act, which lapsed into law in July 2022, “institutionalizes the extended producer responsibility mechanism as a practical approach to efficient waste management, focusing on waste reduction, recovery and recycling/repurposing, and the development of environment-friendly products that manifest internationally-accepted principles on sustainable consumption and production, circular economy, and producers’ full responsibility throughout the life cycle of their product.”
With the issuance of its Implementing Rules and Regulations, large enterprises that generate plastic packaging waste are obliged to undertake waste recovery schemes in pursuit of a circular economy. The law requires Obliged Enterprises to divert 20% of plastic waste they produced in 2022 by the end of 2023 and further to 80% by 2028. These obligations may include the diversion, transportation, and disposal of recovered waste and the cleanup in coastal and public areas.
Addressing the urgent issue of waste and the challenges of EPR implementation require a whole of government and whole of society approach. There must be strategic engagement, convergence, and unity of purpose involving stakeholders from other government agencies, corporations, local government units, and other sectors. This includes scaling up waste reduction, recovery and repurposing, and supporting product innovation that will catalyze the circular economy.
Through the series of roundtable discussions in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, the DENR and Nestlé aim to advance the implementation of the EPR law in the country. Beyond legislation that aims to urgently stem plastic waste pollution in the country, EPR presents an opportunity for social inclusion by transforming the informal waste sector – an important cog moving the country’s progress on the circular economy forward.
This event will also be a platform to present the findings of the synthesis report from the roundtable discussion held in Manila earlier this year. This report, facilitated by Nestle Philippines, gathered information and feedback from over 300 stakeholders representing food manufacturers, co-processing facilities, consumer goods groups, packaging firms, policy leaders, and non-profit organizations.
The CDO leg of the roundtables is the third and final leg and aims to identify actionable ways forward for the public and private sectors. The DENR and UNDP will be conducting a walk-through of the EPR Registry and will provide coaching to participating enterprises for any assistance in registering their EPR programmes.
District Representative, Cagayan de Oro City, 2nd District, House of Representatives