Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in Germany: Everything you need to know now to continue selling on Amazon & Co.
"Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)":
The principle according to which, in Germany, responsibility for the entire life cycle of a product, associated components and packaging is seen as lying with the company that puts it into circulation. Related legislation is the German Packaging Act and the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (WEEE).
Amazon and other marketplaces are currently informing all their sellers who send goods to Germany about new obligations in 2022 and requiring them to submit their so-called "EPR number(s)". From 2022, the EPR registration number(s) will be required as proof of compliance with the legislation applicable in Germany for placing packaging, electrical appliances and batteries on the market, as a basic prerequisite for a trader to be able to sell to Germany via online marketplaces such as Amazon & Co. Incidentally, the same applies to France.
This is because marketplaces will have a duty of inspection from 1 July 2022 at the latest. This means that if a seller cannot prove to the marketplace operator that the requirements are met, a sales ban will take effect. It is therefore of great importance that every seller who sends goods to Germany via online marketplaces ensures within the set deadlines that they are legally compliant in their country of destination and submit their EPR number.
What exactly needs to be done is explained step by step in the following article:
- 1. What does Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) mean?
- 2. Why does EPR concern me as a marketplace seller?
- 3. How do I get an EPR registration number in Germany?
- Short note: These EPR numbers are required in France
- Tip: EPR numbers for shipping to Austria
- Conclusion: The loopholes are getting smaller
1. What does Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) mean?
EPR stands for Extended Producer Responsibility. The principle behind this is that the product responsibility of a seller or producer who puts packaged goods on the market includes not only the product itself, but in particular all packaging and (product) components brought into circulation that are disposed of by the end consumer. In the context of Extended Producer Responsibility according to German legislation, this includes in particular packaging, electrical appliances and batteries. EPR thus functions as a kind of collective term for these three aspects.
The distributor thus bears responsibility for the entire life cycle of a product and its components, up to and including recycling. All EU waste regulations are based on this principle of responsibility, including the EU Packaging Directive, on which the German Packaging Act, for example, is based.
2. Why does EPR affect me as a marketplace seller?
From 2022, the German Packaging Act (VerpackG) establishes a control obligation for online marketplaces, so that traders who sell to German end consumers must follow the requirements and provide their EPR number to the marketplace operators as proof of this. Similar regulations will also apply to France from 2022. It is also expected that other EU member states will follow suit in the next few years.
The obligation to verify their sellers will be legally binding for marketplace operators from next year onwards; if no proof is provided, the traders concerned will be expressly banned from selling – if a marketplace fails to comply with this requirement, it will face severe sanctions. Marketplaces such as Amazon & Co. will want to avoid this risk as much as possible – and therefore already inform their sellers now about the consequences if no proof of compliance with the EPR obligations is provided within the communicated deadlines.
3. How do I get an EPR registration number?
All EU member states regulate the handling of waste in their own legislation – the associated obligations must therefore be considered and fulfilled for each country. The corresponding EPR registration numbers are – in short – the numbers that sellers receive from their respective recycling system or from the authorities.
In detail, the following must be done in Germany:
In Germany, registration for packaging, electrical appliances and batteries must be proven.
Important: According to the German Packaging Act (VerpackG), sellers who ship to Germany must comply with the following requirements for ALL packaging that they put into circulation on the German market – regardless of the distribution channel and BEFORE the packaging is put into circulation; this means that not only packaged products sold via a marketplace are affected, but basically all of them.
What to do:
- Participate packaging quantities with a dual system: Sign up now with Lizenzero
- Register as a "producer" with the Central Agency Packaging Register (ZSVR) in the LUCID register: Register here
Your EPR number: Once all steps of the LUCID registration have been completed, you will receive an individual registration number which you can submit to your marketplace as an EPR registration number.
- Enter the name of the dual system and licensed volumes in LUCID.
Electrical and electronic equipment
The handling of electrical and electronic equipment in Germany is regulated by the German ElektroG. Note: If an electrical euqipment contains a battery, registration with the EAR must be done for both the electrical appliance and the batteries. You can also use our WEEE-Portal and hand over all duties.
What to do:
- Register electrical euipment with the Foundation for Waste Electrical Equipment Register (EAR) as a "producer": Register here
Your EPR number: Once you have gone through all the steps of the EAR registration, you will receive your WEEE registration number, which you can submit to your marketplace as an EPR registration number
- For foreign sellers: Appoint an authorised representative (obligatory for sellers without a registered office in Germany!)
- Provide a guarantee and deposit it with the EAR.
- Commission a recycling system for the collection and sorting of WEEE.
In the context of the German BattG, the following obligations must be fulfilled:
- Register batteries with the Foundation for Waste Electrical Equipment Register (EAR) as "producer": Register here
Your EPR number: Once all steps have been completed, you will receive your Batt. registration number, which you can present to your marketplace as your EPR registration number.
- Optional for foreign sellers without a registered office in Germany: Appoint an authorised representative
- Commission an approved take-back system to take back the batteries
Short note: These EPR numbers are required in France
In France, distributors do not only need a registration for packaging, electrical equipment and batteries, but also for other product groups such as textiles or furniture. Sellers receive the EPR number for each product group from the respective recycling system with which they are registered.
Note: We will provide you with more information on the EPR requirements in France in the coming weeks. Subscribe to our newsletter now to be the first to know!
Tip: EPR numbers for shipping to Austria
Since a preliminary draft of a new Austrian waste ordinance contains similar intentions to make marketplaces and their sellers more accountable, it is expected that Amazon and all other marketplaces will soon request EPR information from their dealers for shipments to Austria. Just like in Germany, packaging, electrical equipment and batteries will also be affected here.
Update January 2022: Done deal – in Austria also there will be a control obligation with regard to compliance with the Austrian Packaging Ordinance (VerpackVO) by marketplace operators and fulfilment service providers from 01.01.2023. Further important information: Foreign online retailers must – also from 2023 – appoint an authorised representative for packaging shipped to Austria. You can find the collected information on the changes in Austria in our blog post on the topic.
We will keep you up to date here on the blog and via our newsletter!
Conclusion: The loopholes are getting smaller
With the establishment of a control obligation by marketplaces, it will be much more difficult for online sellers in the future to circumvent national regulations and legislation for disposal and recycling – especially for sellers who operate from abroad to Germany and have thus often been able to avoid sanctions. It is therefore advisable for affected sellers to deal with the issue now and to get reliable solution partners at their side.
Attention: Just because the requirements are not yet controlled by the marketplaces in every country does not mean that they do not exist and can also be sanctioned, because in case of non-compliance you are already violating established law in most European countries.
Do you want to check whether or not you have obligations regarding your packaging in your export countries? Use LIZENZERO.EU, our information service for Europe-wide packaging licensing!