EPR law success hinges on long-term behavioral change — DENR’s Loyzaga

THE success of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) law, or Republic Act 11898, will depend on behavioral change accompany the broader effort to curb plastic packaging waste, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.

“The biggest challenge is education and in changing the behaviors of people. At the end of the day, that’s what will determine the success of the EPR law and it’s not solely on the large producers,” Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said in a briefing.

She said efforts to alter behavior should begin with childhood, “because that’s where in fact the biggest influence can actually be made.”

Ms. Loyzaga signed the implementing rules and regulations of the EPR law earlier this year. The law requires large companies to manage plastic packaging waste over the life cycle of the products.

Ms. Loyzaga said single-use plastics need to be removed from circulation, alongside parallel efforts to improve the means of their disposal and finding more uses for plastics beyond the first sale.

Citing a 2021 study, the DENR said in a statement that the Philippines is the “single, largest contributor” to the global plastic waste problem, generating around 356,371 tons of plastic waste.

“The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines also found that Filipinos consume a yearly average of 20 kilograms of plastics, of which more than 75% becomes waste,” the DENR said.

She said reducing such volumes needs to be the main effort at the local government unit level, requiring an upgrade of their technical, environmental, and financial capacity.

Ms. Loyzaga also called for consumers to make an effort to buy things that comply with the EPR law.

“Please look at the way you are purchasing your goods and support those that are sustainably packaged,” she said.

“How we treat plastics is a matter of chemistry. There needs to be an investment in research for recycling and upcycling. We cannot stay with today’s state of science and technology,” she added. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera