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The Central Agency Packaging Register (ZSVR)

The Central Agency Packaging Register (ZSVR) is one of the key changes introduced by the new German Packaging Act (VerpackG) in comparison to the German Packaging Ordinance (VerpackV), which the Act replaces from 2019. For the first time, a central registration and monitoring body is now in place, together with a publicly accessible database called LUCID. This approach enables the cross-checking of manufacturer- and brand-related data from registered companies who are the first to put sales packaging on the market and who therefore target the private end consumer segment.

Companies required to participate by the German Packaging Act have been able to register since the end of August 2018 and have been able to report data volumes to the Central Agency Packaging Register since October 2018. Registration and volume reporting to the ZSVR has been mandatory since January 2019.

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What is the Central Agency Packaging Register (ZSVR)?

 

The Central Agency Packaging Register is a private non-profit foundation established pursuant to Section 24 of the VerpackG. The foundation was formed in mid-2017. Section 26 of VerpackG defines the individual tasks of this national body.

The foundation has two divisions, namely

  • a division handling its responsibilities under law, including administrative work; and
  • a division handling the foundation’s operations as a private non-profit organisation.

 

The tasks set out in Section 26 of the VerpackG are binding on the Central Agency Packaging Register. Accordingly, the foundation may not engage in any other activities beyond these tasks, and may neither handle the conclusion nor brokerage of agreements with dual systems or waste management companies.

One of the core tasks of the Central Agency Packaging Register as set out in the Act is the operation of a packaging register in which all manufacturers are listed who are the first to put sales packaging on the market in Germany. A key distinction here is that the sales packaging must ultimately end up as end user waste. These end users include not just private citizens but also catering outlets such as pubs, cafés, restaurants, leisure or sports centres, public authorities, hospitals, nursing homes, and others. The law describes all of these as ‘equivalent points of waste origin ’. Other duties of the Central Agency include operating a database for packaging types used by manufacturers and dual systems, calculating market share for dual systems and industry-specific solutions, creating standards for assessing packaging recyclability and mandatory participation in the system, auditing industry-specific solutions, mass flow verifications, recycling rates and audit policies, and creating an official registry of auditors.

The administrative duties with which the Central Agency Packaging Register is tasked include consulting with and informing state-level regulatory authorities as well as Central Agency funding.

The Agency’s private-law division engages in a range of ancillary activities that are required to support the work of its obligations as set out by the VerpackG. These activities include setting up the Register and its associated database, securing access to the call-for-tenders portal run by the dual systems, negotiating funding agreements, organising information and training events for auditors, communicating with other regulatory authorities and bodies, and providing information to Register system participants and members of the public.

How is the Central Agency Packaging Register organised?

The Central Agency Packaging Register is operated by an eponymous foundation that is based in Osnabrück. This foundation has four founding bodies:

  • Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE)
  • German Retail Association (HDE)
  • German Association for Plastics Packaging and Films (IK)
  • German Brands Association 


The German Federal Environmental Agency has general oversight of the Central Agency Packaging Register. Supervisory and advisory roles are assigned to a Board of Trustees and Board of Governors, respectively, and a Board of Directors represents the Foundation in legal and extrajudicial matters. One further body is the Advisory Council for Collecting, Sorting and Recycling. Expert groups are also scheduled to contribute their expertise until the end of 2019.

The Central Agency Packaging Register is financed by companies operating as dual systems.

The LUCID database

LUCID is used to view the manufacturer-/brand-related details that have been provided to the Central Agency Packaging Register. The Central Agency Packaging Register publishes the following details as required by Section 9 of the VerpackG:

  • Registration number
  • Registration date
  • Company name, address and contact details
  • Brand names used to place on the market the packaging that is participating in the system

 

LUCID is used to view the manufacturer-/brand-related details that have been provided to the Central Agency Packaging Register. The Central Agency Packaging Register publishes the following details as required by Section 9 of the VerpackG:

  • Registration number
  • Registration date
  • Company name, address and contact details
  • Brand names used to place on the market the packaging that is participating in the system

 

Registration in the Packaging Register LUCID - Step by step guide

Registration with the
Central Agency Packaging Register

While registration with the Central Agency Packaging Register is free for all companies required to do so, the VerpackG makes registration a precondition for commercial placement of packaging on the market. Companies affected are those that were required to report their volumes under the Packaging Ordinance.

These companies must also ensure their packaging participates in a dual system, such as the dual system operated by Interseroh (via www.lizenzero.de). This step is a simple online procedure that uses the Lizenzero online shop set up for this purpose. If manufacturers do not have the weights of their packaging material volumes to hand, these can be calculated easily using the handy Calculation Wizard.

Registration with the Central Agency Packaging Register is completed by providing the relevant company details. The company is then issued with an individual registration number that must be used to report all packaging and which must also be communicated to the dual system chosen by the company. All of the data provided must be audited once a year.

All volume reports must be sent to both the Central Agency Packaging Register and to the dual system operator. Any changes affecting company details must also be communicated to both bodies without undue delay. If packaging volumes exceed certain limits, companies are then also required to submit a Declaration of Completeness.

These limits, known as ‘de minimis limits’, are:

  • 80 tonnes for glass,
  • 50 tonnes for paper, paperboard or cardboard (PPC)
  • 30 tonnes for other materials such as aluminium, plastics, etc.

 

In most cases, companies with waste volumes under these limits do not need to submit an additional Declaration of Completeness. The Declaration of Completeness must be submitted by 15 May each year for the previous year.
The details on the Declaration must comply with the provisions of Section 11(2) VerpackG and have been audited and approved by a registered auditor.

What happens if a company does not register with the Central Agency Packaging Register?

Substantial sanctions may be imposed on companies that fail to comply with their obligations under the German Packaging Act, which include mandatory participation in a dual system and Central Agency Packaging Register registration/reporting duties. Fines of up to EUR 200,000 may be levied and companies may also face sales bans. Competitors also have the option of taking legal action to secure a written warning against companies that fail to specify their packaging volumes correctly.

Companies offering a ‘reporting service’ for the Central Agency Packaging Register are not to be trusted, since both registration and all volume reporting is strictly non-delegable. Neither brokers nor chambers of foreign trade (or other systems) are allowed to operate in this context. An email address used to apply for login credentials can also be used only once.

Act now in accordance with VerpackG

Die Sanktionen bei Verstößen gegen die Vorgaben des Verpackungsgesetzes – hierzu zählen sowohl die Beteiligungspflicht an einem dualen System als auch die Registrierungs- und Mengenmeldepflicht gegenüber der Zentralen Stelle  Verpackungsregister – ZSVR – können erheblich ausfallen. So können Bußgelder von bis zu 200.000 Euro verhängt werden und Verkaufsverbote drohen. Des Weiteren haben Wettbewerber die Möglichkeit, auf zivilrechtlichem Weg eine Abmahnung zu erwirken, wenn die Marken eines Konkurrenten nicht oder nicht ordnungsgemäß angegeben wurden.

Dienstleister, die die Meldung bei der Zentralen Stelle Verpackungsregister – ZSVR anbieten, handeln unseriös, da jede Registrierung sowie die Meldung der Mengen stets höchstpersönlich erfolgen muss. Aus diesem Grund sind auch Makler, Systeme oder Außenhandelskammern in diesem Kontext nicht zugelassen. Auch kann eine E-Mail-Adresse für die Beantragung von Zugangsdaten nur einmalig genutzt werden.