German packaging

The German packaging Act

Extended Producer Responsibility ( EPR ) Compliance

The Packaging Act amendments, which replaced the extended producer responsibility Ordinance on 1 January 2019. It created the Central Agency Packaging Register (ZSVR). To comply with the Packaging Act, you will need to license your packaging with a dual system and register with the LUCID packaging register.

Any party who places packaging filled with goods on the German market (producers/initial distributors). It must register with the Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister (Central Agency Packaging Register – ‘ZSVR’) in the LUCID Packaging Register and list their packaging type(s). Starting 1 July 2022, this obligation applies regardless of the type of packaging for producers of

  • packaging subject to system participation, such as retail, grouped and shipment packaging, and
  • packaging not subject to system participation, such as transport packaging, reusable packaging, single-use beverage packaging subject to deposit, etc.

Who and what does the Packaging Act apply to on ecommerce?

Producer responsibility Act impacts domestic and international ecommerce shops selling to buyers in Germany.

It applies to all packaging that typically results in waste after use. It includes materials used to package individual products (e.g., hang tags, cellophane bags, boxes) and materials used for delivery (e.g., mailing envelopes, boxes). Examples of packaging materials that qualify include cardboard, glass, aluminium, plastic, natural materials, cardboard composite materials.

Under the Packaging Act, these materials are considered as a “placement” of new packaging into commercial circulation on the German market for the first time. It must be accounted for in the LUCID Packaging Register, run by the Central Agency Packaging Register (ZSVR).

Define extended producer responsibility 

Extended producer responsibility meaning the is LUCID Packaging Register by the Central Packaging Register (ZSVR). Every company that places packed products onto the German market, has to be registered with LUCID. This obligation extends to manufacturers, but also traders and online retailers. Registration in the LUCID packaging register must take place once per company or manufacturer.

Registration and data reporting at LUCID

The Central Packaging Register (ZSVR) was introduced by the German Packaging Act (VerpackG). Its purpose is to check whether the requirements of the producer responsibility scheme are being complied with. Manufacturers, traders and online retailers who place packaging for private end use on the German market must

  • register in the LUCID register of the ZSVR,
  • estimate the quantities of packaging they will place on the German market in a given year and submit these planned quantities to a dual system in Germany such as the Green Dot,
  • also report their data regarding the quantities reported to one or more dual systems to the ZSVR in the same way.
  • The LUCID registration number is communicated by manufacturers, distributors and online retailers to their dual system so that the data reconciliation works.

Who is affected by Packaging Act in German?

The packaging law demands a recycling fee for all packaging which typically ends up in consumer or household waste.

This means that any B2C products are affected while in some cases. It includes B2B sales as well. For instance when selling to small companies, hotels, or restaurants – where packaging usually ends up in the same waste stream. 

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) generally affects the company which fills empty packaging with goods. Which puts packaged products on the market for the first time. Thus, the following parties are responsible for paying recycling fees:

  • Those who import products from abroad and sell them within Germany.
  • Those who manufacture products in Germany or have them manufactured under their own brand.
  • Those who sell products and ad additional packaging (e.g., shipping box in e-commerce).
  • Foreign companies selling directly to German consumers (cross-border b2c e-commerce).

Anyone active in e-commerce selling physical goods to customers in Germany has obligations from the EPR laws. There are also no exceptions, sales thresholds, or minimum quantities for small companies as in other countries. All obligated companies must register in the LUCID Packaging Register and obtain a Packaging License from a German recycling scheme.

What kinds of packaging need to be licensed?

All kinds of packaging that ultimately end up with and have to be disposed of by German end-users must be licensed.

In other words: ‘sales packaging’, which includes product packaging, mail-order packaging (including filing and padding materials) and service packaging. The VerpackG’s obligations apply from the very first piece of packaging placed on the market.

How do I have to report to the Central Packaging Registry?

Almost all the particulars you gave within the framework of your system participation with Der Grüne Punkt have to be communicated by you yourself directly to the Central Packaging Registry – at least:

  • Name, address and contact data of the manufacturer
  • Details of a natural person with powers of representation
  • National ID number of the manufacturer, including the European or national tax number of the manufacturer
  • Brand names under which the manufacturer is putting into circulation his packaging subject to mandatory system participation
  • Declaration that the manufacturer concerned is meeting his take-back duties by participating in a dual system such as Der Grüne Punkt
  • Declaration that the particulars given are true