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PH businesses meet EPR target in minimizing waste–DENR sec

June 8, 2024 Cory Martinez 214 views

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) revealed registered businesses in the Philippines have met their target of diverting plastics by 20 percent in the first year of implementation of the Expanded Producers’ Responsibility (EPR) Act.

DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga commended the private enterprises for achieving significant strides toward the “shared goal of building a circular economy where waste is minimized, resources are protected and the delicate balance of our planet is restored.

According to the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), a total of 624,547 tons unaudited footprint for plastics in 2023 was reported and 20 percent or 124,986 tons of plastic packaging were reported to have been diverted.

“Businesses have achieved this 20 percent target through waste collection and diversion, including recovery, transportation and cleanup efforts in coastal and public areas,” Loyzaga said.

Loyzaga also expressed optimism that the Philippines will hit the target of recovering and diverting 80% of plastic packaging by 2028.

“The early gains have been made in less than two years since the enabling law, Republic Act 11898 or the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act, came into force in 2022,” Loyzaga said in a speech entitled “Linking Opportunities and Partnerships Towards Circular Economy” at SM Masinag, Antipolo, Rizal.

Circular economy is about the practice of reducing, reusing and recycling, which has appeared to be modified and improvised in 2013 through a report “Towards the Circular Economy: Economic and Business Rationale for an Accelerated Transition” by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The EPR law requires businesses to conduct proper waste management of plastic packaging products such as sachets, rigid plastic packaging products, plastic bags and polystyrene.

The EMB also reported a 37 percent increase in the number of businesses that registered under the EPR program, from 667 in 2023 to 917 companies as of May 6, 2024.

Under the EPR Act, the targets for the recovery of plastic product footprint are 2023, 20%; 2024, 40%; 2025, 50%; 2026, 60%; 2027, 70%; and 2028, 80%.

Amid the roll-out of the EPR Act, the DENR has issued Administrative Order (DAO) 2024-04 promulgating the interim guidelines on the compliance audit reporting for legally bound enterprises under the EPR law.

The guidelines–developed by the DENR with the Audit and Assurance Standards Council and Financial and Sustainability Reporting Standards Council–are adopted, while the uniform standards for EPR compliance auditing and reporting, as well as the accreditation rules and procedures for independent third-party EPR compliance auditors, are yet to be finalized.

Moving away from the linear economy model of take-make-dispose, EPR is crucial in advancing a circular economy. It enhances the efficient use of materials and redirects processes from the end of the supply chain back to the beginning.

“This supports the country’s achievement of its nationally determined contribution as mentioned by the Climate Change Commission especially in, about our waste wherein the circular economy and sustainable consumption and production have been identified as key mitigation measures against climate change.

It also supports our sustainable development goals on climate action, on the protection of life on land and under sea, zero hunger, water and establishing sustainable cities as well as regards our poverty issues,” said Loyzaga.