Questions and answers on the Packaging Act

The German Packaging Act will come into effect on 1 January 2019. Do you have questions about the new Provisions? Here you’ll find the answers.

General information on the Packaging Act (VerpackG)

When will the Packaging Act come into force?

The new Packaging Act was announced in the Federal Law Gazette on 12th July 2017 (BGBl. I dated 12th July 2017, p. 2234 ff.). It will come into force on 1st January 2019.

Will there be any transitional provisions?

There will not be any transitional provisions after 1st January 2019. The regulation to set up a Central Packaging Registry and the transitional provisions have already come into force on 13th July 2017.

Will there still be a Joint Body?

Yes. The systems still have to participate in the Joint Body. The Joint Body is responsible for allocating the recycling and incidental costs on the basis of the market shares calculated by the Central Packaging Registry. Furthermore, it coordinates tenders and defines its details, designates the system auditors and coordinates the information measures to which the systems are obliged by law.

Will there still be a Clearing House?

No. The tasks of the Clearing House, namely the calculation and publishing of the market shares of the systems, will be taken over by the Central Packaging Registry.

Packaging Types

Which kinds of packaging need to participate in a system (obligation to participate in a system)?

All sales packaging filled with goods (including dispatch and service packaging) and secondary packaging, which typically ends up as waste with the private final consumer after use.

What means "typically"?

According to the official justification of § 3 para. 8 of the Packaging Act "the generally accepted view" is valid in an ex-ante evaluation. This means that if "the vast majority of packaging ends up with the private final consumer, this packaging has to participate in total in a system, even if individual packaging finally may end up as waste with other final consumers".

How is a packaging type defined?

The packaging type is not qualified depending on its actual point of collection, but according the point of collection where the packaging typically ends up. This means that a packaging is either a sales packaging or a secondary packaging or a transport packaging.

Does the term "secondary packaging" still exist?

Yes, but the term has been adapted to the definition given in the European Packaging Directive 94/62/EG. A secondary packaging is defined as a packaging which contains a certain number of sales units and which is typically offered to the final consumer together with the sales units or which is used to stock the shelves.

Do retailers still have to take back secondary packaging, for example behind the cashpoint area?

No. As soon as secondary packaging typically ends up as waste with the final consumer after being used, it is considered to be sales packaging which has to participate in a system and cannot be given back to the retailer. A secondary packaging is defined as a packaging which contains a certain number of sales units and which is typically offered to the final consumer together with the sales units or which serves to stock the shelves. This means that if a packaging is typically given to the final consumer, it is considered to be a sales packaging. Consequently the type of packaging does not only depend on its collection point but on a prior classification of where the packaging typically ends up.

Does each packaging used to stock the shelves have to participate in a system?

No. If the packaging is not typically passed to the final consumer and consequently remains with the retailer, it does not have to participate in a system.

Does dispatch packaging also have to participate in a system?

According to the Packaging Act dispatch packaging is qualified as packaging which is passed to the distributor or final consumer by the producer and which allows or supports the dispatch of goods to the final consumer. If the dispatch packaging ends up with the private final consumer it has to participate in a system (for example distribution via online shops).

Obliged parties

Who is responsible for the participation of the packaging in a system?

Producers of packaging which has to participate in a system need to take part in one or several systems like "Der Grüne Punkt" in order to guarantee the nationwide take-back of their packaging.

Are there any de minimis limits?

No. Any commercial retailer (also online retailer) is subject to the obligation to participate in a system.

Who is defined as a producer?

Manufacturer in the sense of the act is every distributor who is the first to professionally circulate the packaging in Germany or who imports it to the German market.

Central Packaging Registry Packaging Regulation (Central Packaging Registry) 

Which tasks are executed by the Central Packaging Registry?

For details concerning the tasks and organization of the Central Packaging Registry as well as for further information please refer to the website www.verpackungsregister.org.

Is the Central Packaging Registry an authority?

Yes. The Central Packaging Registry will be endowed with sovereign rights as of 01.01.2019. In accordance with § 1 para 4 of the Administrative Procedure Act (VwVfG) it is considered as a body executing tasks of public administration, thus it is an authority.

When will the Central Packaging Registry start its activity?

The Central Packaging Registry is currently in the process of being set up and needs to be ready for operation on 01.01.2019. According to the information given on the website of the Central Packaging Registry www.verpackungsregister.org registry is expected to be possible as from the middle of 2018.

How is the Central Packaging Registry structured?

For details concerning the tasks and organization of the Central Packaging Registry as well as for further information please refer to the website www.verpackungsregister.org.

Registry and data reporting

Who needs to register?

Each manufacturer is obliged to register with the Central Packaging Registry before circulating packaging which need to participate in a system on the German market. Modifications of master data also have to be communicated to the Central Packaging Registry without delay.

Which data need to be specified for the registry?

The following data must be specified for the registry:

1.Name, address and contact details of the manufacturer
2.Specification of an authorized natural representative
3.National identity number of the manufacturer including European or national tax number of the manufacturer
4.Brand names under which the packaging subject to  system participation are distributed by the manufacturer
5.Declaration that the manufacturer fulfils his take-back obligations by participating in one or several systems or by means of one or several branch-specific take-back solutions.
6.Declaration that the information given is true.

As of when can companies register at the Central Packaging Registry?

According to the timeline given on the website of the Central Packaging Registry (www.verpackungsregister.org) registry is expected to be possible as from the middle of 2018.

How does the registration procedure work?

The Packaging Act defines a compulsory online registration as well as the content of the registration. The layout, forms, kind of registration number etc. are still to be determined by the Central Packaging Registry.

What happens with the data specified?

Each manufacturer will be published online once the registration has been completed.

Is it possible to participate in a system without having a registration number?

No. The packaging participates in a system after the registration has been done.

Do companies have to specify further data vis-à-vis the Central Packaging Registry apart from the data given in the registration procedure?

Yes. In accordance with § 7 para. 1 sentence 1 manufacturers are obliged to report the packaging data given to the system in the frame of the participation contract also to the Central Packaging Registry. The manufacturer has to mention at least the following specifications:

1.registration number;
2.material category and quantity of the packaging registered
3.name of the system in which the packaging participates;
4.period of participation in the take-back system.

Modifications of the data as well as possible returns according to §7 para. 3 sentence 1 have to be reported to the Central Packaging Registry.

Moreover, the quantities participating in a system as from the year 2019 need to be reported without delay to the Central Packaging Registry as of 01.01.2019 for the first time even if the Participation Contract has already been concluded in the year 2018.

What means "without delay"?

"Without delay" means in accordance with § 121 para. 1 German Civil Code (BGB) „without culpable delay“. But the subjective and not the objective reasonability of the prompt action decides on the immediacy  which is not synonymous with "at once". The company concerned has a reasonable time to consider, which, however, may be of different duration according to the circumstances.

Declaration of completeness

Who needs to submit a declaration of completeness?

The procedure concerning the declaration of completeness has been preserved from the currently valid Packaging Ordinance. Each manufacturer whose packaging quantities are above the qualifying volumes is obliged to submit a declaration of completeness.

Which minimum volumes apply in view of the obligation to submit a declaration of completeness?

The minimum volumes remain unchanged. Each company that circulated more than

  • 80 t glass,
  • 50 t paper/board/cardboard,
  • 30 t lightweight packaging

during the past calendar year is obliged to submit a declaration of completeness.

Are there any content-related modifications compared to the provisions of the currently valid Packaging Ordinance?

Yes. Deductions  because of damaged or unsaleable packaged goods have to be declared separately in the declaration of completeness by the manufacturer and the fulfilment of legal recycling requirements confirmed expressly.

By when and to whom does the declaration of completeness have to be submitted?

The deadline for the submission of the declaration of completeness has been postponed from 1st May to 15th May. The declaration of completeness must be submitted to the Central Packaging Registry and no longer to the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Who is entitled to verify and sign a declaration of completeness?

Only auditors who are officially registered at the Central Packaging Registry and who have been published in a corresponding online register. This regulation already applies for the declaration of completeness which has to be submitted by 15th September 2019 for the year 2018.

As of 28 July 2017.
No responsibility is accepted for the accuracy of this Information.

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