Packaging Act (Verpackungsgesetz): Extended Responsibility for Sellers
Packaging Act (Verpackungsgesetz): Extended Responsibility for Sellers on the German Market in 2023
January 12, 2024January 18th, 2024
In July 2022, changes to the German Packaging Law (Verpackungsgesetz or VerpackG) came into effect. These changes impact all companies that produce, import, or use packaging materials. The law obligates companies to participate in the dual system for packaging disposal and to register in the LUCID registry. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in serious consequences, including fines of up to 200,000 euros.
In this article, we will go through all the changes to the Packaging Act, including those up to the year 2023, to provide you with up-to-date information. You will be able to take all necessary measures to comply with the current regulations.
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1. What Is the Packaging Law (Verpackungsgesetz)?
The German Packaging Law was introduced in 2019. Its main objective is the effective regulation of the life cycle of packaging materials and the minimization of their impact on the environment. The law is a continuation of the Packaging Ordinance that has been in effect since 1991.
The introduction of the new Packaging Law took place step by step:
Year of Change
Changes to the law
A new version of the Packaging Act has been adopted, introducing stricter requirements for manufacturers and importers of packaging materials.
The fundamental provisions of the new law have been established, and a registration system for companies has been developed.
The new Packaging Act has come into effect. It mandates the registration of all companies that manufacture or use packaging in the German market. Companies are also required to take measures to increase the recycling and disposal rates of used packaging materials.
Changes have been made to the Packaging Act, affecting the registration and reporting systems for companies. Simultaneously, a ban on single-use plastic products came into effect. This also applies to online trading platforms, which are now subject to the regulations of the law.
Ban on polyethylene bags. The Packaging Act stipulates a registration requirement for manufacturers in the LUCID register.
According to the amendment (§ 33 of the Packaging Act), the mandatory use of reusable packaging for catering establishments, delivery services, and restaurants is now in effect.
The new Packaging Law was introduced to significantly tighten requirements for handling packaging. It obligates all "manufacturers" of packaging to actively participate in financing its disposal. The new regulations help control the production and use of plastic materials and encourage the transition to environmentally friendly alternatives.
Furthermore, the Packaging Law contributes to increasing the efficiency of waste recycling. It sets requirements for the separate collection and recycling of various types of packaging materials, such as plastic, glass, and paper. This helps reduce the volume of waste sent to landfills and promotes the reuse and recycling of materials. In 2021, 41% of Germany's 5.7 million tons of plastic waste were recycled .
The Packaging Law (VerpackG) also regulates the responsibility of manufacturers and sellers for packaging materials. They must register in a special registry and fulfill their obligations for waste processing. This helps create a responsible packaging industry where manufacturers make more conscious choices regarding materials and strive for ecological sustainability.
2. Who Falls Under the Regulations of the Packaging Act (Verpackungsgesetz)?
The Packaging Act applies to all "producers" of packaging. In the context of the law, this refers to the entity responsible for the creation and provision of packaging materials used for packaging goods. This means that anyone placing commercial packaging on the German market, whether it's a manufacturer, distributor, or retailer, is considered a producer and has specific obligations.
The law applies to both German companies and foreign companies exporting goods to Germany. All of them are obligated to fulfill the registration requirements of the Packaging Act in the corresponding packaging register.
3. What Type of Packaging Is Referred to?
The impact of the law extends to all packaging used for goods in the German market. This includes various types of packaging, especially:
Commercial packaging filled with goods for the consumer.
The outer packaging that becomes waste after use by the end consumer.
Transport packaging, including shipping cartons and other packaging for the transportation of goods.
Service packaging (packaging for take-away meals, packaging for baked goods in bakeries, etc.).
Single-use packaging for beverages subject to deposit, etc.
4. What Consequences Do Companies Face If They Do Not Comply with the Packaging Act?
Non-compliance with the requirements of the Packaging Act can have serious consequences for your company. Violations of the law can result in fines, ranging up to €200,000 and a sales ban on products, depending on the severity of the offense. Such a significant amount can inflict substantial damage to your company's financial standing.
Violations can also lead to negative impacts on the reputation of offenders. Modern consumers are increasingly aware of environmental issues and assess companies based on their ecological responsibility. Non-compliance with the Packaging Act can result in public scandals and the loss of customer trust.
5. Changes to the Packaging Act in 2022: How Have They Influenced Ecommerce?
From July 1, 2022, changes to the Packaging Act were introduced, which mandate a registration requirement in the LUCID register for the packaging used by sellers and their participation in the dual system. Before sellers circulate packaging, they must ensure that it can be reintegrated into the material cycle.
The changes also affected online trading platforms. Since 2022, they are obligated to verify the registration of retailers in the LUCID register and ensure that they meet the requirements for participation in the system. Failure to confirm compliance results in retailers being unable to offer their products on these platforms. This also applies to providers of third-party logistics (3PL) services. They are only allowed to offer their services to customers who have fulfilled their obligations according to the Packaging Act.
The seller must fulfill their obligations according to the specified regulations:
5.1 Registration in the Packaging Register (LUCID)
Without a registration number, your company cannot participate in the dual system, and thus, you are not allowed to use packaging for commercial purposes. To obtain a number, you must register in the LUCID register through the Central Packaging Register (ZSVR) .
The ZSVR monitors manufacturers and retailers under the Packaging Act, verifies their registration, and checks the proper payment of fees for the use of packaging. Its task is to ensure complete transparency and efficiency in the dual system.
5.2 License for Participation in the Dual System
After obtaining the registration number, you can license your packaging with your dual system provider and introduce it into circulation. The dual system is a key element of the Packaging Act. It is a comprehensive system for the collection and recyc