SYSTEM CHANGE STRATEGYFRAMEWORK
Three system change strategies are identified. Each strategy prescribes action for specific actors and steps involved in the waste value chain:
Plastic Flows in the Philippines
DESIGN FOR CIRCULARITY
Plastic producers, including brand owners, plastic manufacturers, and packaging converters, must redesign both rigid and flexible plastic packaging to maximize the likelihood that they are diverted from the landfill and nature towards value-generating pathways. This means redesigning plastic packaging to decrease the cost of collection and sorting and make it more acceptable as feedstock for recycling and diversion technologies. Zero Waste to Nature (ZWTN) recommends the following:
A shift to natural color (colorless) for rigid plastics
A shift to flexible packaging structures that have higher diversion potential
A new labeling scheme for flexible structures
Exploration of new delivery systems
SUPPORT THE RECOVERY AND DIVERSION PROCESSES
To realize the improvements from the Design for Circularity system change, recovery processes must be supported and expanded to ensure that the plastic packaging is actually recovered from the waste stream and diverted at scale to recyclers and waste processors. Recovery processes involve collection from solid waste generation sources, sorting, consolidation, storage, and delivery to final destinations. These processes are normally carried out by local governments with both formal and informal waste sector workers pursuant to their mandate under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 otherwise known as RA9003. However, they are chronically underfunded, under-capacity, and suffer from regulatory insecurity. Social Enterprise groups, cooperatives, innovative groups, aid programs, and the like also play an important role but they are often fragmented, limited in scope, and isolated in reach.
Given this, ZWTN offers the following solutions:
Launch a private sector-led EPR scheme that allows plastic producers to financially support existing recovery processes and expand to areas where there are none.
Expansion of recovery capabilities
New legislation that supports secure feedstock concession agreements
FACILITATE INVESTMENT IN WASTE PROCESSING FACILITIES
The Design for Circularity and Support Recovery Processes strategies provide recycling and waste processing stakeholders a reliable source of the feedstock they need to operate at scale. These two system change strategies will address an important barrier to investment in adequate waste processing infrastructure. From interviews with local operators and investors for fuel conversion and plastic asphalt roads, having quality feedstock will encourage them to invest in scaling up their respective capacities.
However, if we aim to make an investment into waste processing a lucrative venture and speed up the expansion of their capacities, more incentives and support should be given to the investors.
This third system change strategy calls for further support for waste diverter business models through:
Economic incentives for recyclers and waste processors such as tax holidays, exemption from Value-Added Tax (VAT) and from importation duties and taxes for capital equipment, and assistance including loans and grants for the establishment of privately-owned facilities to manufacture products from post-consumer materials
Instruments to drive market uptake of products from waste. Product standards for recycled products, fuel from plastics, and plastic asphalt roads are critical to increasing market uptake. Long-term guarantees by the national and local governments and incentives or policies to drive offtake purchase agreements from private entities to purchase a significant percentage of the recycling outputs are also needed.
Support in accessing government incentives. Some investors are not able to access existing government incentives for pioneering technologies in waste processing due to certain limitations. Moreover, the same incentives should be extended to expand operations to fill the infrastructure gap. Part of this strategy is for PARMS and its members to extend support and linkages to investors towards this end.
Facilitating partnerships and collaborations. Private investors, LGUs, and local stakeholders will also be brought together to build partnerships and plan for the installation of diversion infrastructure. PARMS is currently pilot-testing this type of partnership in Paranaque for a flexible plastic mechanical recycling facility.
With these elements in place, the waste diversion sector will attract private sector investment that will catalyze the expansion of the correct type and capacity of waste diversion technologies needed to process current and future waste generation going into 2030.