Companies are again being reminded to register their Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs on or before the February 12 deadline to avoid potential compliance violations, which carry hefty consequences.
The February 12 deadline for EPR program registration was reconfirmed by lawyer Ivy Joyce de Pedro of the legal division of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in a recent public orientation on the newly signed Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the EPR Act of 2022.
The EPR IRR—also known as DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2023-02—was issued on January 24, 2023 and prescribes the procedures and guidelines for implementing the EPR Act.
“Tuloy na tuloy ang February 12 natin,” De Pedro emphasized in the well-attended virtual orientation conducted February 8.
“Phased-in program naman ang kailangan nyong i-register. As long as you complied with the deadline, basta i-meet natin yung deadline natin. Anyway, kung may kulang ibabalik namin sa inyo yan. Para complete yung compliance natin,” she told worried stakeholders.
De Pedro earlier explained that there is a need to rush the registration because the EPR Act—otherwise known as Republic Act (RA) No. 11898—lapsed into law in July 2022 and became effective in August.
“The law mandated the obliged enterprises to register their EPR programs within six months from the effectivity of the law and not within six months from the effectivity of the IRR. We recall the six months from the enactment of the law on August 12, 2022; hence the deadline for the submission of EPR programs would be on February 12, 2023,” she had said.
Since February 12 is a Sunday, the deadline technically falls on February 13, however.
EPR refers to the environmental policy approach and practice that requires producers to be environmentally responsible throughout the life cycle of a product, especially its post-consumer or end-of-life stage.
Under the EPR Law, obliged companies must be responsible for the recovery, treatment, recycling, or disposal of their products after these have been sold to and used by consumers in order to reduce the volume of plastic waste generated and extend the life of plastics by adding value or purpose through upcycling or recycling.
In the orientation, De Pedro stressed that the EPR Law is focused solely on plastic packaging waste and its recovery, recycling and reduction by the relevant producers.
To register their EPR programs, obliged enterprises (OBs) have to submit these documentary requirements to the National Ecology Center (NEC):
- Letter of intent
- Supporting documents: Proof of authority to represent the OE, collective, or producer responsibility organization (PRO); legal, tax and local business personality of the OE, lead company of a collective, or PRO
- Additional documents for collectives and PROs: Organizational structure and leadership, membership requirements, roster of member OEs, roster of voluntary MSME participants in the EPR program
- Sworn statement on the veracity of submitted documents and the undertaking to report changes in contact details, or identity of the duly designated officer, mode of EPR compliance, roster of members, and other relevant information
- EPR program
The components of the program should include the following information:
- Specific type of plastic packaging materials and product brands (disclosure of volume not required)
- Verifiable volume or weight of the plastic packaging brought into the market within a specified period
- Target volume or weight of plastic packaging waste for recovery, reuse and recycling
- Other EPR programs, such as the redesign of plastic packaging to improve reusability or recyclability
- Labeling of packaging materials to facilitate recovery, recycling, reuse, or proper disposal
- Status of implementation of the EPR mechanisms
- Status of compliance
For now, registration is manual, but electronic submissions of applications to the NEC may also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, said De Pedro. An NEC completeness check will be conducted within three business days. If everything is in order, the company will need to pay the registration fees.
The NEC then reviews the EPR program for conformity and compliance within 20 days, and the program is deemed registered if no action is taken from thereon.
The registered program will be endorsed by the NEC to the National Solid Waste Management Commission and released to the applicant OE, collective, or PRO.
Concerned enterprises that fail to register their EPR programs or meet compliance targets for recovery stand to face heavy fines and penalties.
These range from P5 million to P10 million for the first offense, more than P10 million to 15 million for the second offense, and more than P15 million to 20 million for the third offense and automatic suspension of the business permit.