Plastic pollution has reached gigantic
dimensions worldwide and has caused serious consequences to marine life and the
wellbeing of society. In a recent study, it has been estimated that about 11
million tonnes enter the ocean every year. If no action is made, this can
triple by 2040 which is equivalent to 50 kg of plastics for every coastline
The Philippines, based on a 2015 modelling
study, has been considered as one of the 10 top countries contributing to
plastic pollution, has been continuously challenged with increasing waste
generation and the lack of a sound waste management system. This calls for a
comprehensive approach among policy makers, corporations, cities, and consumers
to ensure that no plastics reaches nature.
Building on its
No Plastics in Nature initiative, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
Philippines releases a report entitled “Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
Scheme Assessment for Plastic Packaging Waste in the Philippines”. This
report, undertaken with cyclos GmbH and AMH
Philippines Inc, highlights EPR as a
critical and effective policy tool in holding manufacturers accountable for the
end-of-life impacts of their plastic products and packaging. EPR as a policy instrument also encourages
adoption of holistic eco-design among the business sector. The proposed EPR
scheme has been based on the findings of the first Material Flow Analysis of
plastic packaging waste in the Philippines.
The report shows that Filipinos consume a
yearly average of 20kg of plastics, from which 15.43kg/cap/year becomes waste.
Insufficient recycling capacities for high value recyclables (i.e. PET, PP,
HDPE) and the high volume of low value plastics (including sachets) are factors
that affect the country’s low plastic recycling rate, at 9%. The report further
estimates that the Philippines leaks about 35% of plastic wastes into the
These waste reduction and management
conditions shaped the proposed customized EPR scheme in the Philippines. It
proposes a mandatory EPR scheme for all product packaging with a three-year
transition phase for obliged businesses to redesign their product packaging and
eliminate unnecessary plastics. For this customized EPR scheme to work, the
report emphasizes that the responsibility of implementing the scheme for
building high-quality recycling capacity should be assumed by a non-profit
Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO), acting as the system operator, with
strict monitoring and control systems carried out by the government.
“We in WWF believe that a mandatory EPR
system is a way for businesses to be more engaged in eliminating unnecessary
plastics through eco-design and strengthening waste management by being
responsible for the end of life impacts of their plastic packaging. It is a
driving mechanism for businesses to transform their models and push for
circular solutions to reduce plastic generation including refilling and
ultimately to eliminating leakage of plastic in nature. Adopting the EPR scheme
in the Philippines is a great driver for us to stop plastic pollution,” says Czarina Constantino, WWF-Philippines’
National Lead for the No Plastics In Nature Initiative and Project Manager for
Plastic Smart Cities.
A key first step is a clear, effective, and
unambiguous legal framework towards EPR. This can only happen if policy makers
take a bold and decisive step to put this globally recognized waste reduction
and management scheme in place. A legal framework for EPR should outline clear
objectives, responsibilities, enforcement mechanisms, and a timeline for
implementation and targets. The effectiveness of the EPR system relies on the
active role of government to regulate and supervise the system and its operator
through a legal framework. This is also aligned to the ASEAN Framework of
Action on Marine Debris that enjoins member states like the Philippines to
develop and implement EPR policies and schemes.
Facilitating partnerships among relevant
stakeholders, most notably the government and the private sector,
WWF-Philippines advocates for the adoption of the EPR scheme in the country to
stop plastic pollution.
plastic pollution requires both upstream (production/pre-consumption) and
downstream measures (consumption and post consumption). Working on the entirety
of the plastic life cycle, stakeholder collaboration is important in both
reducing the production and the consumption of unnecessary plastic, and also in
managing plastic products and packaging, ensuring that materials are used as
long as possible in our society,” says Joel
Palma, WWF-Philippines’ Executive Director.
Nestlé Philippines, one of the leading
producers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) in the country, encouraged
fellow stakeholders to do their part for nature by supporting the localized EPR
“At Nestlé, we believe that tackling
plastic waste cannot be successfully achieved by a single or linear solution.
It requires the attention and action of different stakeholders. We must look
into different options both upstream and downstream, and take a holistic
approach as we continue accelerating our initiatives to tackle plastic waste
and EPR is a major instrument. We support the creation of a localized EPR
scheme that we believe can help increase collection and recycling rates. We
cannot achieve this alone, we must work together, to achieve a waste-free
future," says Arlene Tan-Bantoto,
SVP and Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications of Nestlé Philippines.
The study is part of the No Plastic in Nature Initiative - WWF’s
global initiative to stop the flow of plastics entering nature by 2030 through
elimination of unnecessary plastics, doubling reuse, recycling and recovery,
and ensuring remaining plastic is sourced responsibly. Through this initiative,
WWF-Philippines has been working with cities on plastic leakage, policy makers
to advocate for a global treaty on plastic pollution, businesses to transition
to circular business models, and the general public to campaign and act.
Take part to #ChangeTheEnding for our
planet and help work towards a vision of no plastics in nature.