Change to the Packaging Act. as of 1st July 2022

Registration obligation in relation to all types of packaging

The registration obligation for the packaging register LUCID is also extended. In future, this may also affect entrepreneurs who were previously exempt from this obligation. But there may be a need for action even if registration already exists. The background is the extension of the obligation with regard to all types of packaging. In addition, there are adjustments in the area of service packaging, which is often less relevant for online traders.

So far, the situation is like this: Manufacturers of so-called system-participating packaging are obliged to register with the LUCID packaging register. This is all packaging filled with goods that typically accumulates at the private end consumer after use - for example, classic shipping packaging. We speak here of packaging that is subject to system participation or licensing, since collection and recovery is carried out by the so-called dual systems.

However, there are also numerous types of packaging that are not "typically generated as waste by private end consumers" - for example, because they are simply too large or contaminated with pollutants, or because they are reusable packaging, as is the case with many deposit bottles. There is no system participation obligation for manufacturers of such packaging; rather, manufacturers and distributors themselves bear the obligation to take back the packaging. This will continue to be the case; there will still be no obligation to license/participate in the system for such packaging in the future.

Nevertheless, this is where an important change comes in: Up to now, there has been no obligation for manufacturers of such packaging to register, but from 1st July 2022 there will be!

Registration & Change Registration - What to do?

For online traders and other entrepreneurs, there may be a need for action with regard to registration for the packaging register. Affected groups can be divided as follows:

  • If one is exclusively a manufacturer of packaging subject to system participation, the obligation to register (and the obligation to participate in the system) already existed under the previous legal situation. As a reminder: Packaging is subject to system participation if it typically accumulates as waste at the private end consumer after use.
  • If one is exclusively a manufacturer of packaging that is not subject to system participation, there was previously no obligation to register, but there will be in the future. This must be carried out by 1 July 2022! However, system participation is not necessary for these types of packaging.
  • If you are a manufacturer of packaging subject to system participation AND packaging not subject to system participation, the existing registration must be adapted by 1 July 2022 (so-called change registration). In this case, it is necessary to add information on the types of packaging to the existing registration.

The registration or the change registration must take place by 1 July 2022. It is already possible now - online and free of charge on the website of the Central Packaging Register.

FAQ on terms - manufacturer, system participation etc.

Those potentially affected by the Packaging Act are dealing with a complex matter, so that professional advice is generally recommended in the event of questions or uncertainties. But also the terms used in the Packaging Act often cause uncertainty.

  • Are system participation and registration one and the same?
    No, they are two different obligations - licensing and system participation, however, mean the same process.
  • Am I a producer within the meaning of the Packaging Act?
    It often happens that online traders do not feel addressed by the Packaging Act, as it often refers to the "manufacturer" of the packaging. However, this in no way refers to the "producer" of the packaging. According to the Packaging Act, the manufacturer is the distributor who puts packaging (filled with goods!) into circulation for the first time on a commercial basis. Example: Online trader X puts the goods in a shipping box and sends it to the buyer. In addition, anyone who imports packaging within the meaning of the Packaging Act into Germany is deemed to be a manufacturer.
  • Is the packaging now subject to system participation?
    Here, too, traders often find themselves at a loss. In principle, packaging is subject to system participation if it typically accumulates as waste at the private end consumer after use. If this is not the case, it is not subject to system participation. However, it is often difficult to classify packaging on this basis. For assistance, the Central Body providesa catalogue online.
  • Which types of packaging are only affected by the registration obligation from 1 July 2022?
    Packaging that is not subject to system participation. This includes:
    • Transport packaging
    • Sales and secondary packaging that does not typically accumulate as waste at private final consumers after use.
    • Sales and secondary packaging for which system participation is not possible due to system incompatibility pursuant to Section 7 (5) of the Packaging Act.
    • Sales packaging of pollutant-containing products
    • Reusable packaging
    • Non-returnable beverage packaging pursuant to § 31 VerpackG

Sanctions: This threatens if the obligation is not implemented correctly

In principle, the registration obligation must be fulfilled from the time the first packaging is placed on the market - there is no de minimis limit for small quantities. The extension of the registration obligation applies from 1 July 2022 - if action is required, the necessary steps must therefore be taken by this deadline.

Missing or improper registration has serious consequences:

  • Distribution ban: Without manufacturer registration, corresponding packaging may not be placed on the market - there is a distribution ban quite automatically.
  • Fines: WAnyone who does not register, does not register correctly, does not register completely or does not register in time, despite the legal requirement, risks a fine of up to 100,000 Euro.
  • Warning letters: Due to the fact that the packaging register is open to public scrutiny, failure to register with the packaging register is a target for cease-and-desist letters.

Excursus: Changes in service packaging

Changes will also be made with regard to service packaging on 1 July 2022. However, the category of service packaging does not usually play a role in classic online trade: it enables or supports the handover of goods to end consumers. This means, for example, the bag of bread rolls from the bakery or the pizza box. Here, too, there will be a change in the area of the registration obligation: Until now, the registration obligation could be passed on to the pre-distributor together with the system participation obligation. From 1 July 2022, the system participation obligation can still be transferred to the upstream distributor (e.g. by purchasing the empty packaging under licence - note: this option is only available for service packaging!), but in future the registration obligation will have to be fulfilled by the upstream distributor itself, both in the case of system participation.

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