Firms urged to comply with EPR law

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has renewed its call for firms to register with the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program, adding that those who comply will be eligible for tax incentives.

The DENR urged those defined as obliged enterprises (OE) under Republic Act 11898 or the EPR Act of 2022 to start complying with the law. These are companies with total assets exceeding ₱100 million and can opt to have their own programs, work as a collective, or be part of a producer responsibility organization.

“The DENR is here. We are not discussing penalties here. We’re discussing the incentives for obliged enterprises who will comply with the EPR law. The DENR is here to assist OEs and even MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) in registering,” said DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones.

Brand owners, product manufacturers, or importers of consumer goods who implement EPR initiatives will be eligible for tax incentives, the DENR said.

On the other hand, fines ranging from P5 million to P20 million will be imposed for noncompliance with the law’s provisions and target recovery rates.

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For the first year of EPR implementation, OEs must divert 20 percent of their plastic waste and by 2028, the target rate will be set at 80 percent.

Latest report from the DENR said that EPR compliance is now at 745, up from last month’s record of 662 registered firms.

Based on data from the Department of Trade and Industry, however, there are an estimated 4,000 large enterprises in the Philippines.

“Since EPR programs might be relatively new to many companies, we expect that more enterprises will submit their programs once they better understand how to operationalize modes of implementation into their businesses,” said Leones.

The DENR targets to reach 1,000 registered enterprises by the end of 2023.

Leones added that individual businesses, industry associations, and business groups can reach out to the DENR to gain a better understanding of the law and the EPR registration process.

For his part, the President of the Philippine Plastic Industry Association Aaron Lao said that the EPR law is “one step forward to systematic waste management.”

“We just need collaboration between government and industry. The industry should not perceive the government as someone who penalizes them, but as someone who guides us in complying with this EPR,” said Lao.