Information Platform for Manufacturers and Distributors regarding the Packaging Act
Packaging Act Overview
When did the Packaging Act come into effect?
The new Packaging Act took effect on 1 January 2019, replacing the Packaging Ordinance.
To whom do the regulations apply?
All actors, including online retailers, who bring packaged products (including padding material) onto the German market and which end up as waste with the consumers, are subject to the VerpackG. The principle of extended product responsibility applies here. Thus, those parties are responsible for ensuring the collection and recycling of all related packaging materials.
What has already been in force before the Packaging Act?
The Packaging Ordinance already required participation in one or more packaging scheme(s) when it comes to sales packaging, which typically end up with the private end user (household and comparable collection points) and are collected and recycled via yellow bags, yellow bins, glass bins, or waste paper recycling bins.
What has changed with the Packaging Act?
A new single national authority (Zentrale Stelle) has been established to increase the transparency of the overall system. More importantly, it will support the authorities to combat so called “free-riding”. Aim is to create an overall system for the national packaging waste disposal that is sustainable and eliminating competitive distortion.
In addition to significantly increase targets for material recycling, the Packaging Act is tightening several obligations and definitions.
The targets for the recycling of packaging increased starting 1 January, 2019 and then again from 1 January, 2022. The packaging schemes are required to reach the following minimum annual average rates for their contracted packaging volumes in terms of preparation for recycling and reuse.
What are the objectives for reusable beverage packaging?
The VerpackG includes a target reusability rate of 70 percent for beverage packaging. Additionally the obligation to charge a deposit has been expanded to beverage packaging that includes carbonated fruit and vegetable nectars as well as drinks with a share of milk products greater than 50 percent.
|Material||Previously||Starting 2019||Starting 2022|
|Paper and cardboard||70%||85%||90%|
|Beverage carton packaging||60%||75%||80%|
|Other composite packaging||60%||55%||70%|
|Plastics (material recycling)||36%||58,5%||63%|
Additional Information about the Packaging Act
- Who is a public waste disposal authority (örE)?
- What requirements can the örE set?
- Are declarations of completeness required?
- Individual or collective packaging collection and recycling?
- For which kind of packaging a packaging scheme has to be contracted?
- Can administrative offences be punished or penalties be imposed?
- Does the Packaging Act provide incentives for recycling-friendly packaging?
Who is a public waste disposal authority (örE)?
According to the state waste laws, the city and counties are public waste disposal authorities, unless otherwise specified.
What requirements can the örE set?
Pursuant to § 22 of VerpackG, the örE can specify requirements to the packaging schemes regarding the following points:
- type of collection system (kerbside system, bring system, or a combination)
- type and size of the collection containers (e.g. standard bin)
- collection frequency and timeframe
Are declarations of completeness required?
Pursuant to the VerpackG, declarations of completeness must be electronically submitted to the Zentrale Stelle by 15 May each year along with the associated audit reports (§ 11 par. 1-3 VerpackG).
As before, those parties who bring onto the German market:
- less than 80,000 kilograms of glass,
- less than 50,000 kilograms of paper, paperboard, and cardboard,
- less than 30,000 kilograms of aluminium packaging, ferrous metal packaging, beverage box packaging, or other composite packaging for the first time in the previous calendar year
are still exempted from filing a declaration of completeness (§ 11 par. 4 VerpackG).
Individual or collective packaging collection and recycling?
Manufacturers and distributers are legally not permitted to organise the return and recycling of their packaging individually, but are obligated to participate in a permitted packaging scheme (so called Dual System). The selected packaging scheme then organises the collection, sorting, and recycling of the packaging nationwide.
For which kind of packaging a packaging scheme has to be contracted?
Sales packaging and outer packaging that typically end up as waste with the end consumer after use must be 100 percent contracted to a permitted packaging scheme – regardless of where it actually appears as waste. In contrast to the current legislation (VerpackV), secondary packaging (Umverpackung) must also be treated as sales packaging (according to § 3 par. 1 no. 2 VerpackG) and follow the same rules.
Can administrative offences be punished or penalties be imposed?
If a breach of the obligations occurs, it will be considered as an administrative offence and may be punished with a fine of up to 200,000 euros (§ 34 par. 1 and par. 2 VerpackG).
Does the Packaging Law provide incentives for recycling-friendly packaging?
The packaging schemes are required to provide incentives to promote the use of highly recyclable materials and the material recyclability of packaging. The schemes must also provide an annual report to the Zentrale Stelle and the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) on the implementation of the guidelines.
Regulations and Requirements Relevant for Manufacturers and Distributors
Manufacturers are now required to register with a newly created national authority, the Zentrale Stelle, before putting packaging on the market. Packaging must not be placed onto the market without such a registration (filled packaging sold to consumers or to distributors).
The registered manufacturers will be published on the website of the Zentrale Stelle to ensure full transparency for all market participants.
In addition to registering, manufacturers will also have to immediately transmit packaging-related data to the Zentrale Stelle. At a minimum, the following data must be reported:
- Registration number (provided by the Zentrale Stelle before)
- Material and volume of the packaging put on market
- Name of the packaging scheme contracted by the manufacturer to fulfil its Extended Producer Responsibility
- Period of time for which the contract with a packaging scheme has been agreed
Unlike with the declaration of completeness (Vollständigkeitserklärung), there will be no de minimis threshold for this reporting requirement. Thus, even distributors of small quantities must report their data to the Zentrale Stelle in accordance with the above specifications.
Since the schemes also have to transmit their corresponding data to the Zentrale Stelle, simple data comparison will be possible, ensuring a high degree of transparency.
In future distributors of packaging may entrust third parties with the fulfilment of their obligations, though they remain ultimately responsible for fulfilment. The third parties commissioned must be sufficiently reliable.
However, registration (§ 9 Packaging Law) and data reporting requirements (§ 10 Packaging Law) cannot be transferred to third parties, but they can still be prepared by competent third parties. The Zentrale Stelle is expected to set further specifications on the registration and reporting procedures.
The new Packaging Law redefines certain terms:
- Sales packaging must no longer necessarily physically occur as waste with the consumer in order to be considered as subject to be contracted with a packaging scheme.
- Sales Packaging to be licenced with a packaging scheme will be defined as primary and secondary packaging used for sales, which occurs predominantly as waste with the consumer after use; these must then be 100 percent licenced with a packaging scheme.
- In the future, secondary packaging (Umverpackung) will be treated as sales packaging.
Shipping packaging (to the consumer e.g. online-sales) is now clearly considered as sales packaging. It can not be pre-licensed.
In the future, packaging schemes will also be required to take ecological criteria into account when determining licence fees. These so-called modulated fees are intended to encourage manufacturers to use packaging materials that consist (partially) of recycled materials or a high percentage of materials that can be recycled. The criteria for this will be defined by the Zentrale Stelle under supervision of the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt). Currently there are still many open questions regarding the exact implementation of this new fee concept.
What has changed with the Packaging Act?
Creation of a National Authority (Zentrale Stelle)
Contracting a Packaging Scheme
Reporting Packaging Volumes
Declaration of Completeness
+ Zentrale Stelle will publish the registration of all distributors on their website = full transparency
The video of the Zentrale Stelle on the Packaging Act:
The Packaging Act includes the establishment of a national authority, the so-called Zentrale Stelle. On 28 June 2017, producers and distributors or their related associations have officially set up a foundation based in Osnabrück (Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister) corresponding to the legal requirements.
Systems and operators of industry solutions are required to participate in the financing according to their respective market share. The Zentrale Stelle has sovereign powers and, as a neutral institution, should help to increase the efficiency of enforcement and to strengthen competition. The Zentrale Stelle is subject to the technical supervision of the Federal Environment Agency.
The Zentrale Stelle’s most important tasks include:
- Registration of manufacturers, including online publication
- Receipt and review of data reported by manufacturers and packaging schemes
- Review of submitted declarations of completeness
- Review of the quantity flow certificates submitted by the packaging schemes
- Development of a minimum standard for measuring the recyclability of packaging (in consultation with the UBA)
- Market share calculation for packaging schemes
- Classification of packaging (finally defining which packaging needs to be contracted with packaging schemes)
- Review of branch specific solutions
- Inclusion of expert and other auditors in a public auditor registry
- Development of audit guidelines
Bodies of the Zentrale Stelle:
The bodies of the Zentrale Stelle are as follows: Board of Trustees, Board of Directors, Supervisory Board, and Advisory Board for Collecting, Sorting, and Recycling.
Tasks of the Bodies
- The Board of Trustees is responsible for making decisions with a majority of votes cast.
- The Board of Directors, which consists of up to two people, conducts the business of and represents the Zentrale Stelle.
- The Supervisory Board advises the Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors in the fulfilment of their duties. It consists of representatives from manufacturing, Federal ministries, German federal states (regions), and local government, the private waste management sector, the packaging schemes, as well as environmental and consumer organisations.
- The Advisory Board for Collecting, Sorting, and Recycling advises the Board of Directors, particularly regarding improvements in the collecting, sorting, and recycling of resource-rich waste, as well as in matters of special municipal importance. It consists of representatives from municipal associations, municipal waste management sector, packaging schemes, private waste management, and the German federal states (regions).
Solutions for Manufacturers and Distributors
Landbell as a packaging scheme (also called “Dual System”) is the organisational interface between manufacturers, distributers and both public and private waste management companies.
As an experienced environmental service provider we offer comprehensive and legally compliant services from a single source in Germany and Europe. We support you in all matters relating to the VerpackG and the currently still effective VerpackV. We operate independently and select the best offers for you from suitable waste disposal contractors. With Landbell, you have a central contact partner by your side – on whom you can rely completely.
Landbell EASy is ideal for distributers having smaller packaging volumes, assuring a simple, straightforward and fast processing of your packaging reports. That way, you can keep your expenditure in time and costs low and manageable.
Landbell EASy customers enjoy the following benefits:
- Calculate costs online:
Specify your packaging quantity and calculate related disposal costs (non-binding)
- We offer 100%:
100% compliance scheme, 100% legal safety, 100% simplicity
- Online administration
- €75 annual flat fee for small quantities
- Larger quantities:
Customised terms and conditions for larger quantities – we’re happy to make you an individual offer