From January 1, 2019: New Packaging Act in Germany
October 17, 2018
Packaging Act replaces Packaging Ordinance in Germany
The new German Packaging Act (VerpackG) will come into effect on 1 January 2019, replacing the current Packaging Ordinance (VerpackV). It substantiates product responsibility for packaging. All actors, including online retailers, who bring packaged products onto the German market, whether to protect a product, market it better or to send it by post (transport packaging), will then be responsible in advance for ensuring the collection and recycling of all related packaging materials. The aim is to protect the environment by reducing packaging waste and promoting recycling. This is an expression of the principle of extended product responsibility for manufacturers as specified in Germany and the European Union.
A manufacturer is the distributor who places packaged goods on the market in Germany for the first time within a commercial capacity. In order to make all manufacturers meet their obligations, a new single national authority (Zentrale Stelle) will be established to register all so-called “first-time distributors”. The FBDi states expressly that without such registration, products may not be offered for sale in packaging that is subject to the system participation obligation; non-compliance with such registration could result in severe penalties.
By defining the end consumer, this also includes deliveries by distributors (importer or manufacturer), for example, to universities and smaller businesses which, in terms of waste generation, are equivalent to private households.
New definitions in the Packaging Act
The new Packaging Act redefines certain terms:
- Packaging subject to the system participation obligation must be licensed as sales and outer packaging filled with goods, the majority of which is generated as waste by the end consumer after use, and 100 per cent of which is to be registered and licensed. Compared to the Packaging Ordinance, sales packaging no longer necessarily has to be disposed of as waste by the end consumer in order to be regarded as subject to the system participation obligation.
- In future, outer packaging will be treated as sales packaging.
- Shipping packaging is now clearly seen as sales packaging and cannot be pre-licensed.
The main objective of the new Packaging Act (VerpackG) corresponds to that of the previous Packaging Ordinance (VerpackV): Everyone who places packaged goods for private end consumers on the German market for the first time shall participate in a dual disposal system in order to pay for future disposal costs.