Philippines Philippines promulgates an Act introducing EPR for plastic containers and packaging

Philippines promulgates an Act introducing EPR for plastic containers and packaging

The Philippines enacted the Extended Producer Responsibility Act of 2022, Republic Act (RA) No. 11898 on July 23, 2022. This Act amends the country’s solid waste management act, RA9003, “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000,” and provides for the introduction of EPR in waste management, especially plastic waste management, in the new “Chapter III-A.” Obliged enterprises (producers of products generating plastic packaging waste with total assets of P100 million or more) are required to develop and implement an EPR program and collect plastic packaging. The Act shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following its complete publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. The effective date is August 13, 2022.

Although not yet published in the Official Gazette, the original RA11898 uploaded to the House of Representatives of the Philippines website is available for download from the following URL:
https://hrep-website.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/legisdocs/ra_18/RA11898.pdf

 

Plastic Packaging Covered by EPR

Plastic packaging refers to products utilized to carry, protect, or pack goods for transportation, distribution, and sale. Specifically, the following products are included:

  • Sachets, labels, laminates, and other flexible plastic packaging products, whether single-layer or multi-layered with plastics or other materials.
  • Rigid plastic packaging products, whether layered with other materials, which include containers for beverages, food, household goods, personal care and cosmetic products, including their coverings, caps, or lids and other necessities or promotional items such as cutlery, plates, drinking straws, or sticks, tarps, signage, or labels.
  • Plastic bags, which include single-use plastic bags, for carrying or transporting of goods, and provided or utilized at the point of sale.

 

EPR Programs

Obliged enterprises shall, within six (6) months following the effectivity of the Act, establish or phase-in EPR programs for plastic packaging to achieve efficient management of plastic packaging waste, reduced production, importation, supply or use of plastic packaging. In addition, obliged enterprises can utilize producer responsibility organizations (PROs) to implement EPR programs.

EPR programs may include the activities and strategies stated under paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 44-A. The EPR program may be developed individually or jointly with or without a PRO, and the target operator or PRO must submit the EPR program to the National Solid Waste Management Committee (NSWMC) through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The deadline for submission is within 6 months from the enforcement of the Act. Obliged enterprises or their PROs shall be required to submit annual compliance reports to confirm compliance with their respective EPR programs.

 

Recovery Obligations

Obliged enterprises that generate either rigid or flexible plastic packaging shall establish and phase-in recovery programs that will achieve plastic neutrality, and shall recover or offset their respective plastic packaging footprint. The programs may include the activities stated under paragraph (b) of Section 44-A. In addition, a compliance report on the recovery program must be submitted to DENR.

The following targets for the recovery of plastic product footprint generated during the immediately preceding year are set:

December 31, 2023 20%
December 31, 2024 40%
December 31, 2025 50%
December 31, 2026 60%
December 31, 2027 70%
December 31, 2028 and every year thereafter 80%

 

Audits

Obliged enterprises or their PROs shall engage an independent third-party auditor to certify the veracity of the reported plastic product footprint generation, recovery, and EPR program compliance. The audited report shall be submitted to DENR.

 

Incentives

Obliged enterprises and PROs may apply for incentives following the approval process provided under Title XIII (Tax Incentives) of the National Internal Revenue Code. EPR expenses shall be considered as necessary expenses deductible from gross income subject to Section 34(A)(l) of the National Internal Revenue Code.

 

Fines and Penalties

Eligible operators who do not register an EPR program or who violate the provisions under the recovery program will be subject to a fine (between P5 million and P20 million (approx. 12 million JPY to 48 million JPY) in the amount stipulated by the Act. In case of failure to meet the targets, the obliged enterprise shall pay the same fines set above, or a fine twice the cost of recovery and diversion of the footprint or its shortfall, whichever is higher.

 

The rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this Act shall be formulated within ninety (90) days from its effectivity.

 

EnviX Comment

The long-discussed plastics law has been officially promulgated, and it will have a significant impact on companies, making it a very important event for environmental regulations in the Philippines. The main contents of RA 11898 are as described above, but DENR plans to promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations within 90 days of the enforcement of the Act to provide more specific compliance measures. Although there are still ambiguous provisions, it is expected that these points will be clarified in the Implementing Rules and Regulations. According to media reports, the local response has been generally favorable, but some environmental groups have voiced concerns. Specifically, “incineration” is included as one of the disposal methods for plastic waste, and there is no provision for response to climate change, or prohibition or reduction of single-use plastics.

For more details about current situation of plastic pollution in the Philippines, see the following page:
Philippines, Plastic Pollution Issues

 

NOTE:
On September 6, 2022, Philippines News Agency (PNA) reported that DENR is drafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11898.
DENR drafting IRR to make firms accountable for plastic wastes

Author / Responsibility

HIROSE Nao

Researcher, Research & Consulting Dept. EnviX Ltd.

Business Performance

In charge of Southeast Asia for managing information on the environmental regulations.

Background

BA, Human Life and Environmental Sciences, Ochanomizu University

HIROSE Nao