Global menu

Our global pages

Close

Packaging in the Spotlight: Extension of the Obligation to Register in the LUCID Packaging Register under the German Packaging Act

  • Germany

    07-11-2022

    On 1 July 2022, significant amendments to the German Packaging Act ("VerpackG") came into force, which, among other things, greatly expand the group of obligated parties. In order to prevent sanctions, companies should pay attention to compliance with the obligations. All this is reason enough to once again present the main (new) provisions of the VerpackG.

    Affected packaging

    In principle, the VerpackG applies to all packaging, but ties certain obligations only to specific types of packaging. A distinction is made between

    | Packaging that is typically offered to the end consumer (grouped packaging as well as retail packaging including shipment packaging and service packaging);

    | Packaging where this is not the case (transport packaging).

    While the obligation to register applies to producers independent of the type of packaging, the second main obligation which is the system participation obligation, only applies to grouped and retail packaging.

    Obligation to register

    Pursuant to section 9 para. 1 VerpackG, producers of packaging filled with goods are obliged to register in the LUCID Packaging Register provided by the Central Agency Packaging Register (Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister, "ZSVR") before placing the packaging on the market.

    The producer within the meaning of the VerpackG is not - as the common sense of the word would suggest - the manufacturer of the packaging, but the distributor who places packaging on the market for the first time on a commercial basis or who imports the packaging into Germany (section 2 para. 14 VerpackG).

    Accordingly, manufacturers, retailers, importers, online retailers and mail order businesses or distributors may be subject to the registration obligation depending on the individual case. By way of example, the registration obligation may apply to the following players:

    | all those who bear the legal responsibility for the packaged goods at the time they cross the border into Germany (even if they are not located in Germany),

    | all those who fill a package with goods for the first time in Germany and deliver it to a third party (e.g. a food producers who pack their goods themselves),

    | so-called final distributors who fill service packaging with goods (e.g. a bakery that fills a bag with bread),

    | mail order businesses that place goods in a shipping package and ship them.

    The registration obligation also applies to companies based outside Germany. However, for some parties and for types of packaging the VerpackG provides for exemptions from the registration obligation. For example, fulfilment service providers who only fill shipment packaging with goods for another distributor, they may not be obliged to register.

    In the event of non-compliance with the registration obligation, fines of up to EUR 200,000 per infringement may be imposed (section 36 para. 1 no. 3, para. 2 VerpackG).

    System participation obligation

    In addition to the registration obligation, the second major obligation for producers is the obligation to participate in a system for the take-back of packaging waste pursuant to section 7 para. 1 VerpackG. Producers within the meaning of the VerpackG who place retail and grouped packaging on the market which typically accumulates as waste at the end consumer must participate in such a system. The intention behind this stipulation is to ensure that producers of packaging assume their (financial) responsibility for taking-back and recycling waste. In order to comply with this obligation, producers are required to enter into system participation agreements with an accredited third-party waste disposal company (e.g. the ‘Duale System’). The amount of licence fees to be paid to the waste disposal company predominantly depend on the material and the quantity of the packaging placed on the market.

    The VerpackG also provides for exceptions with regard to the system participation obligation, for example for producers of service packaging (section 7 para. 2 VerpackG). This applies, for example, to a bakery that serves coffee in to-go cups.

    In the event of non-compliance with the system participation obligation, fines of up to EUR 200,000 per infringement may be imposed (section 36 para. 1 no. 1 and 3, para. 2 VerpackG).

    Conclusion

    Packaging is so omnipresent in our lives that we are often only aware of it subconsciously. It can therefore quickly happen that those who are obliged to comply with the VerpackG are not even aware of the requirements they have to meet.

    In addition to the registration and system participation obligations, the VerpackG contains further obligations for producers, but also for fulfilment service providers or operators of electronic marketplaces. At the same time, however, it also provides for various potential exemptions or facilitations. For example, the appointment of an authorised representative for producers without a German branch might be an option to ensure compliance even without detailed knowledge of the VerpackG.