A bill that would mandate large companies to adopt and implement policies for the proper management of plastic packaging wastes has been approved by the Senate Monday, January 31, 2022.
Senators, voting 22-0-0, passed on third and final reading Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2425, which seeks to institutionalize the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and in effect amend Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change, said the bill was crafted in response to the clamor for the regulation of single-use plastics and its production, importation and disposal by industries.
“It is not a solution in itself, but it is a move in the right direction, I believe. We need to rescue our country from being a marine litter culprit and demonstrate that a developing country can and will make this work,” Villar said following the measure’s third reading approval.
Through the EPR, obliged companies “have the responsibility for the proper and effective recovery, treatment, recycling or disposal of their products after they have been sold and used by consumers” to reduce packaging waste generation and improve the recyclability and reusability of packaging wastes.
Obliged companies would include producers, manufacturers and importers of consumer goods using plastic packaging. They shall be responsible for making financial contributions to support the collection, recovery, transportation, processing, recycling and disposal of their plastic packaging wastes.
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) would not be required to have EPR programs, the bill stated.
SBN 2425 sets targets until 2030 for the compliance of the required companies to “improve their performance over time”.
Producers, distributor, retailers implementing EPR programs would also be eligible to tax incentives.
On the other hand, fines ranging from P5 million to P20 million were proposed as penalties for failure to comply with the mandated EPR, as well as failure to meet the targets imposed by the bill.
“It is a sad reality that the Philippines is not in a good place when it comes to plastic wastes. The Philippines is the world’s third largest source of plastic waste leaking into the ocean and we have yet to improve our ranking. We hope to contribute in solving this through this legislation,” Villar said.
“The EPR bill is not meant to put additional burden to the companies who are plastic packaging wastes generators, but rather it is an acknowledgment and a call for help that plastic waste problem will not be solved without their invaluable cooperation,” she pointed out.
Aside from Villar, co-authors of the measure were Sens. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Pia Cayetano, Sonny Angara, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Joel Villanueva, Nancy Binay, Manny Pacquiao, Risa Hontiveros, Lito Lapid, and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri.
Sens. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Win Gatchalian, Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, Imee Marcos, Grace Poe, Francis Tolentino also voted for the passage of SBN 2425.
Villar likewise thanked Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon for their amendments and supporting the bill’s approval.