DENR ‘communicators’ undergo training on EPR Act
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), recently conducted a three-day training for DENR Speakers Bureau members responsible for the dissemination of information and promoting compliance with Republic Act (RA) 11898, or the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) Act of 2022.
More than 50 employees from the DENR Central Office and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) underwent a rigorous training to help prepare them cascade accurate information about the EPR law to various stakeholders.
EPR law requires large companies to adopt and implement policies for the proper management of plastic packaging wastes. Last January, the DENR led by Secretary Antonia Loyzaga issued the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 11898 after it lapsed into law on July 23, 2022.
The EPR Speakers Bureau Training held from March 29 to 31 in Quezon City was the first of a series of trainings organized by the DENR to equip its concerned workers with the proper knowledge and skills to effectively spread information about the EPR law.
During the training, the participants gained comprehensive understanding of the EPR Act provisions, including the functions of every stakeholder and the vital role of EPR in sustainable development, circular economy, climate change and biodiversity.
Those who successfully completed the training will be in the frontline of information on the EPR law across the regions, and will serve as resource speakers on upcoming trainings for stakeholders from the private sector, local government units, and waste diversion organizations.
DENR Assistant Secretary for Field Operations - Luzon and Visayas and EMB Director in Concurrent Capacity Gilbert C. Gonzales expressed hope the members of the EPR Speakers Bureau will be able to effectively disseminate the important provisions and necessary activities and programs under the law in order to ensure that its objectives are achieved.
“We are very glad that finally we are able to start somehow the important activities that we need to undertake under the EPR implementation. One of these is this preparation and training of our future messengers of information related to EPR,” Gonzales said.
With effective enforcement, EPR is seen to significantly aid in the long-standing problem of solid waste management in the country and help sustain the National Plan of Action for the Prevention, Reduction, and Management of Marine Litter; restore biodiversity; and achieve climate goals.
According to UNDP Programme Analyst Gwyneth Anne Palmos, EPR and circular economy are mainly associated with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12, which pertains to Responsible Consumption and Production as it primarily aims to achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
“EPR and circular economy when implemented in an integrated, holistic and just manner, can help drive the achievement of all SDGs,” Palmos pointed out.
The EPR law establishes as an environmental policy approach and program, a mechanism that places upon producers the responsibility for the entire life cycle of plastic waste, especially its post-consumer or end-of-life stage.
The EPR practice focuses on the segregation of waste at source and collection; waste reduction, recovery, and recycling; development of environmentally-friendly products; and application of internationally-accepted principles on sustainable consumption and production.
By prioritizing resource efficiency and quality, EPR promotes the elimination of unnecessary packaging or ensuring necessary packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable; and the circularity of these, keeping it in the economy and out of the environment.
Among the strategies to successfully implement EPR include redesigning existing packaging, sourcing biodegradable materials, restructuring its business models, extending life of products, policy advocacy campaigns, and stakeholder mobilization.
Shifting away from the practice of a linear economy or the take-make-dispose pattern, EPR is a vital enabler towards the wider scope of circular economy as it maximizes the use of materials and relocates ways from the end of the supply chain to the beginning.
The Speakers Bureau Training is part of a larger EPR campaign slated in May this year, which aims to obtain commitments on the compliance and implementation of EPR among obliged enterprises, collectives, and producers responsibility organizations (PROs), and to establish partnerships with key agencies in the public sector.
To date, 632 obliged enterprises, collectives and PROs, and volunteer organizations have submitted their EPR programs with the National Ecology Center. #