Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has expressed support for a recently passed Senate bill that aims to make manufacturers and producers accountable for proper management of their plastic packaging waste.

Cimatu said that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is in full support of the move to include Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the two-decade-old Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Senate Bill (SB) 2425 was passed on third and final reading on January 31 to institutionalize EPR, which will in effect amend RA 9003.

"We are supporting moves in Congress to amend the RA 9003, to institutionalize the practice of extended producer responsibility on plastic packaging wastes," Cimatu said during the celebration of the 21st anniversary of the signing of RA 9003.

The DENR chief explained that the amendment of the law would define EPR as a "practical approach on efficient waste management, waste reduction and development of environmentally-friendly packaging products to promote sustainable consumption and production and the principles of a circular economy, and to emphasize the full responsibility of the producer throughout the products life cycle."

Moreover, he pointed out that "obliged companies" will also be required to observe suitable and effective "recovery, treatment, recycling or disposal" of their products which are sold to and used by the consumers.

He also underscored the importance of including EPR in hazardous waste.

"We are also advocating the extension of producer responsibility to waste electrical and electronic equipment, which is another form of hazardous waste," Cimatu said.

He noted that the DENR also supports initiatives in the legislature and promotes multi-stakeholder participation that would reduce marine litter towards a circular economy.

"We are also supporting initiatives in Congress to reduce plastic wastes in our water bodies and to transition to a circular economy," he said.

"We need not just a whole-of-government but also a whole-of-society approach to reduce the residual waste stream to zero in the circular economy that we are pushing for," he added. ###