Conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF-Philippines) is releasing a white paper to help the Philippine government in the upcoming implementation of the Extended Producers Responsibility or EPR Law.
After years of dialogues, the Extended Producers Responsibility Act of 2022 finally lapsed into law last July 23, 2022. Right after its passage, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) started multi-sectoral consultations to craft the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the EPR Law.
WWF-Philippines lauds this monumental achievement in the battle against plastic pollution as the EPR scheme is a critical policy tool that holds producers accountable for the full life cycle of their products and packaging. EPR is an environmental policy approach that emerged in the 1990s and is now increasingly recognized globally as a useful tool for accelerating the transition to sustainable waste management and a circular economy. This scheme encourages waste reduction through the elimination of unnecessary packaging of products, the development of more environmentally friendly packaging design, and the recovery of plastic packaging from the trash in order to reuse or recycle them back into the production process.
To successfully implement the EPR Law in the country, WWF-Philippines, through discussions with other stakeholders from different sectors, highlights several key points that the IRR must include and give clarity.
First, the IRR must clarify the role and powers of the Producer Responsibility Operator (PRO) as they will play a huge role in the implementation of the EPR system. Public registries and information data banks should also be readily available for monitoring and guidance.
Secondly, eco-modulation or the adjustment of the EPR fees based on the packaging of the product should be emphasized and ensure that the fees will support the improvement of our solid waste management system. Investments should also be made in research and development, technology sharing, and the reduction of plastic waste in the country.
Another important point that WWF-Philippines underscores is labeling, which is an important aspect to facilitate proper re-use, recycling, return-to-manufacturer, and other means to circulate the material in the system. Lastly, EPR programs should be inclusive and integrated into the existing solid waste management system of our country.
“We at WWF-Philippines commends the Philippine government for taking concrete actions against plastic pollution. EPR Law is a very important instrument that will shape the future of our initiatives against plastic pollution. Our work now is to implement together with all stakeholders and ensure that we are adopting a human-rights-based approach in doing so.”, said Czarina Constantino – Panopio, Program Manager for No Plastics in Nature initiative.
According to studies by WWF-Philippines, Filipinos each consume a yearly average of 20kgs of plastics, and 15.43kgs of it becomes total plastic waste. The country is also suffering from a very low plastic recycling rate of 9%. The report further estimates that the Philippines leaks about 35% of plastic waste into the environment.
WWF-Philippines actively pushes for actions against plastic pollution through its “No Plastic in Nature Initiative”. It is WWF’s global initiative to stop the flow of plastics entering nature by 2030 through the elimination of unnecessary plastics, doubling reuse, recycling, and recovery, and ensuring remaining plastic is sourced responsibly. Through this initiative, WWF-Philippines has been working with cities on plastic leakage, policymakers to advocate for a global treaty on plastic pollution and EPR, businesses to transition to circular business models, and the general public to campaign and act.
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