When will the Packaging Law come into effect?
The new Packaging Law (VerpackG) will come into effect on 1 January 2019, replacing the current Packaging Ordinance.
How are the Packaging Ordinance and Packaging Law related?
The Packaging Ordinance (VerpackV) defines the current legal framework. It will remain valid until the Packaging Law comes into effect.
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 as waste with the consumers, are subject to the VerpackV and 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 is already in force today?
The VerpackV requires 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 will change with the Packaging Law (VerpackG)?
A new single national authority (Zentrale Stelle) will be established to increase the transparency of the overall system. More importantly, it will support the enforcement authorities to combat the so called “free-riding”. The goal is to create an overall system for the national packaging waste disposal that is sustainable and eliminating competitive distortion.
In addition to significantly increased targets for material recycling, the VerpackG will also tighten several obligations and definitions.
In future, manufacturers will be required to register with a newly created national authority, the Zentrale Stelle, before putting packaging on the market. Packaged goods 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. This also applies for changes of that data. At a minimum, the following data must be reported:
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.
According to the Zentrale Stelle, already the quantities of 2018 will be subject to the new data comparison. As the final data for 2018 will be available only in the beginning of 2019 and the Zentrale Stelle will be receiving all data reports after 1 January 2019, it will be able to check them. Content-wise, all data collected in 2018 are subject to the requirements of the previous Packaging Ordinance (Verpackungsverordnung).
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:
In the future, packaging schemes will also be required to take ecological criteria into account when determining license 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. However, the Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister will develop an interim minimum standard in the course of 2018 in cooperation with the Umweltbundesamt and the Federal Cartel Office.
The targets for the recycling of packaging will increase 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%|
Contracting a Packaging Scheme
NEW: Reporting Packaging Volumes
Declaration of Completeness
The new Packaging Law 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. This foundation is currently under development in order to be fully operational on 1 January 2019. The Zentrale Stelle plans to launch some of the platforms earlier – for example the registration platform in summer 2018.
Schemes and operators of branch specific solutions are required to finance it according to their respective market share. The Zentrale Stelle is empowered with sovereign rights and, as an independent authority, is intended to increase the efficiency of the enforcement and to strengthen competition. The Zentrale Stelle is subject to technical supervision by the German Environment Agency (UBA).
Explore the website of the Zentrale Stelle here.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.