At the beginning of 2019, the Packaging Act replaced the Packaging Ordinance that had been in force until then – and now the first amendment is already coming: it will come into force on July 3, 2021, to transpose two European Union directives into German law. Some important points of the amendment:
Numerous exemptions from the mandatory deposit on single-use beverage packaging will be eliminated. From 2022, for example, juices in non-refillable bottles and all beverage cans may only be sold with a deposit, while milk and dairy products will be subject to a longer transitional period until the end of 2023.
PET beverage bottles must be made of at least 25 percent recyclate from 2025. The quota will rise to 30 percent five years later and will then apply regardless of the bottle material. The requirement is already causing prices for food-grade PET recyclates to rise.
The obligation to register with the Central Packaging Register (ZSVR) will also be extended to all types of packaging, including service packaging.
From July 2022, online marketplaces and fulfillment centers will have to verify that their suppliers participate their packaging in the German dual system. Packaging subject to system participation may in Germany not be sold via online platforms if the manufacturer does not participate in a dual system.
Legislators want to change consumer behavior and, from January 1, 2023, require that customers in the food service and snack bar sector also be able to choose reusable packaging: Ultimate distributors of single-use plastic packaging for food and single-use beverage cups must offer reusable alternatives that must not be more expensive in price than the corresponding single-use packaging. And the small on-site snack bar with up to five employees on up to 80 square meters of sales space must accept reusable containers brought in by the customer.
In addition, the Ordinance on the Prohibition of Single-Use Plastics, or in German EWKVerbotsV for short, will come into force at the same time as the amendment to the Packaging Act. It transposes certain rules of the EU's so-called Single-Use Plastics Directive into German law, including a ban on the marketing of certain single-use plastic products such as
- Cotton swabs, cutlery, plates, drinking straws, stirrers, balloon sticks,
- Expanded polystyrene (EPS) food containers and cups,
- Products made from oxo-degradable plastic.
On July 3, 2021, the Single-Use Plastic Labeling Ordinance (EWKKennzV) is also likely to come into effect. It transposes new EU labeling regulations for single-use plastic products into German law. Certain sales and outer packaging from the hygiene, tobacco and disposable beverage cup sectors must be marked with a label (image and text) specified by the EU. In addition, plastic lids and closures must be firmly attached to beverage containers with a capacity of up to three liters.