July 23, 2024

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources reported 20 percent of plastic wastes have been diverted by registered businesses, meeting its target in the first year of implementing the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act.

DENR Sec. Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga gave credit to private enterprises for the significant feat of “building a circular economy where waste is minimized, resources are protected, and the delicate balance of our planet is restored.”

“Thanks to the partnership of the government and the private sector that have made significant strides towards this goal. An estima-ted amount of plastic packaging totaling 124,986 tons, or 20 percent of the 624,547 tons, has already been part of the unaudited footprint for plastics in 2023. These will be now diverted away from the flow of our solid waste,” Loyzaga said during her message during the 2024 World Environment Day and Philippine Environment Month celebration.

She said businesses achieved the target through waste collection and diversion, including recovery, transportation, and cleanup efforts in coastal and public areas.

Under the EPR Act, the country targets recovery of plastic product footprint by 20 percent in 2023, 40 percent by 2024, 50 percent in 2025, 60 percent in 2026, 70 percent in 2027, and 80 percent by 2028.

Loyzaga expressed confidence the country will achieve its target of recovering and diverting 80 percent of plastic packaging by 2028.

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.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Management Bureau reported from 667 in 2023, the number of businesses registered under the EPR program has increased by 37 percent, or 917 companies as of May 6.

Part of the event includes the ceremonial signing of the DENR Administrative Order 2024-04 outlining the Compliance Reporting and Audit Guidelines for the EPR Act of 2022. – PNA