Who is affected by the German Packaging Act (VerpackG)?
No matter whether micro-entrepreneur or medium-sized business, ebay seller, start-up or old-established top dog, manufacturer, online retailer or stationary trader: Every company that puts packaging in the german market into circulation with its products has a responsibility to participate in their recycling and is therefore affected by the German Packaging Act (VerpackG). Together we are working on a future worth living for ourselves and all following generations.
Owner of online stores
You run an online store and send goods to German customers.
Find out what to do.
You sell products via one or more online marketplaces.
Find out what to do.
You are located in Germany and import goods from abroad into the german market.
Find out what to do.
You manufacture products yourself and send them to German customers.
Find out what to do.
You are located outside of Germany and export goods from abroad to Germany.
Find out what to do.
Which packaging materials
must be licensed?
Whether plastic wrap, cardboard box or glass bottle: all packaging that typically ends up at the private end user and is therefore considered sales packaging must be licensed according to the German Packaging Act (VerpackG). The obligation is independent of the packaging volumes as well as from the packaging materials used and applies from the first packaging brought into circulation. With the help of the license fees paid, we organize the reliable return, sorting and recycling of the packaging.
For more detailed information on individual types of packaging, we recommend the detailed catalogue of packaging subject to system participation by the Central Agency Packaging Register (Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister), the control authority newly introduced by the German Packaging Act.
Packaging made from paperboard, paper or cardboard includes shipping cartons, folding cartons, kraft paper and paper bags.
Glass is used to make clear and coloured non-returnable bottles and jars for beverages, food and medicines.
Plastic packaging such as plastic bags, films, bottles, blister packs and pots is mainly used for food products. Different types of plastics are used, including PE, PP, PET and PS.
Ferrous metals are typically used to make cans or tubes for food and beverage products.
Bottle tops, film for chocolate and tubes for skincare products: packaging made from aluminium is mostly used to package food, cosmetics or pharmaceutical products.
Composite beverage cartons are used to package milk, juice and other liquid food products. These cartons are made from cardboard plus very thin layers of plastic or aluminium, which are joined together.
This category covers packaging made from at least two different materials that are joined together across their entire surface area. One example is vacuum packaging for coffee. Important: this category does not include composite beverage cartons.
Cotton, wood, rubber, copper or ceramics are natural materials that are often used for packaging. Cotton is used for fabric bags, for example.
Why packaging licensing?
This is how dual systems work
With your license fees, we, the dual systems in Germany (Dualen Systeme) organize the entire disposal and recycling process from the moment your sales packaging and packaging materials are disposed of by the end user. In concrete terms, this means that we have the packaging waste collected, then we sort the recyclable materials in our sorting facilities and process them into recycling raw materials that can then be used again in the manufacture of new products.
In this way, together with you, we actively close the cycle of raw materials, ensure an organized process with regard to the sustainable disposal of packaging waste, and thus significantly save resources. Exactly how much saving we achieve for your specific packaging volumes is shown transparently every year on your individual resources SAVED certificate!
"Who is affected by the German Packaging Act?"
Are there still questions about the German Packaging Act?
In our Infocenter we provide you with further information material and FAQs.
Are you still at a loss as to what to do with certain details from the Packaging Act or licensing with us?
Then you are welcome to contact us! We look forward to hearing from you!
Small businesses in particular ask the question "Who is actually affected by the Packaging Regulations of the Packaging Act?" The answer is simple: All obligations from the VerpackG apply equally to all initial commercial distributors of sales packaging, regardless of the size of the business, and thus from the first filled and circulated packaging.
Are you a micro-business owner? In our three-step overview, you will receive a Packaging Act guide so that you can easily fulfill your obligations in conformity with the law.
In accordance with the above-mentioned explanation regarding the independence of the legislation from the size of the trader/manufacturer's business, every commercially active distributor falls under the provisions of the VerpackG. Small businesses or online retailers must therefore license their packaging volumes and register with the Central Agency Packaging Register in the same way as wholesalers and manufacturers. The only difference is the obligation to provide a declaration of completeness, which only takes effect once a certain amount of packaging is placed on the market.
The de minimis limits in accordance with §11 paragraph 4 of the German Packaging Act (VerpackG), which are part of the declaration of completeness, are identical to the values from the German Packaging Ordinance valid until the end of 2018.
These are enclosed in detail:
- 80 tons of glass packaging
- 50 tons of packaging made of paper, cardboard or paperboard
- 30 tons of packaging made of another material
Formally, however, the Central Agency Packaging Register has the option of requiring a declaration of completeness even if the amount is below the de minimis limits. This is likely to affect small businesses only in individual cases.
In the context of the question " Who is affected by the Packaging Act?", the question of the validity of the Packaging Act for B2B activities is always present. The VerpackG is very clear on this point and explicitly excludes trade between companies from the obligation to participate in the system. The dual systems deal exclusively with packaging that goes to private end users. So if a company, for example in the mechanical engineering sector, orders spare parts for a machine from another company, this is not covered by the VerpackG, nor is the purchase of raw materials, tools, etc. The decisive factor here is always that the packaging remains in the market.
In this context the definition of private end user in the VerpackG is interesting. This does not only apply to private individuals in the colloquial sense, but also to restaurants, canteens, hotels, barracks, administrations or educational and cultural institutions, museums, leisure facilities, cinemas, sports facilities or service areas. All packaging waste that accumulates there must therefore also be licensed via the dual systems.
In the context of the question "Who is affected by the Packaging Act?" the so-called "system participation obligation" or "packaging licensing" is often mentioned, because it is one of the core aspects of the Packaging Act. But what exactly is meant by this? And in which system must participation take place?
To answer these questions, it is worth taking a look at the original intention of the Packaging Ordinance as the forerunner of the Packaging Act. The intention was to make manufacturers and dealers who put packaging into circulation on the german market, which typically ends up with private end users, responsible for its disposal. By paying a "license fee" to a company recognized as a dual system, which takes over the collection, sorting and recycling for the product responsible, the latter participates in the relevant system and thus fulfills its "system participation obligation".
At the beginning of the Packaging Ordinance, the obligation to participate in the system applied only to DSD – Duales System Deutschland GmbH (DSD) – or the Grüne Punkt, which was founded in 1990. This private enterprise was founded before the Packaging Ordinance came into force by a group of companies with roots in the food and packaging industry. The term "dual" refers to the fact that a municipal waste disposal system already existed and continues to exist, and that from then on it was supplemented by the collection of recyclable waste. This was the birth of the yellow bag and the yellow garbage can, and manufacturers and traders were subject to the system participation obligation from December 1, 1991 and January 1, 1993 respectively.
The Packaging Act continues the obligation to participate in the system or to license packaging as laid down in the Packaging Ordinance and has expanded this obligation by creating the Central Agency Packaging Register (ZSVR) with the packaging register LUCID to include a control body. Thus the legally required fulfillment of the system participation is now much more comprehensible and violations can be punished more effectively.
The fact that dual systems (initially only the Grüne Punkt) were created for this purpose results from the fact that waste disposal could not have been imposed on any manufacturer or dealer. Dual systems are dedicated exclusively to this topic and have the appropriate know-how and infrastructure to collect waste directly from private end users.
For the question of the obligation to participate in the system, but also for the question "Who is affected by the Packaging Act?", the definition of the "private end user" is decisive. This is because only packaging that typically accumulates at the private end user must be licensed. In addition to the end user in the colloquial sense of the word, this also includes all forms of gastronomy, cultural and leisure facilities, sports facilities, administrations, etc. Those who supply to such institutions as manufacturers or dealers are subject to the system participation obligation.
This includes all packaging made of the following materials:
- Paperboard, paper, cardboard
- Aluminium, other metals
- Composites (beverage cartons)
- Other packaging
- Ferrous metals/tinplate
- Other materials like wood, cork etc.
Also included in the specifications of the Packaging Act are the so-called service packagings, which are used for the transfer of goods. We are talking about bread roll bags, coffee-to-go cups, pizza boxes etc. These also require a license.
The Packaging Ordinance (VerpackV) introduced in 1991 was the first to transfer the obligation to dispose of recyclable waste from local authorities to the private sector. Thus the so-called system participation obligation was created, in which the end user is not responsible for the disposal of his waste, but must be carried out by the first distributor, based on the principle of product responsibility.
The Packaging Ordinance is to a certain extent a pilot project of the so-called product responsibility principle, which was regulated in detail in the Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act (KrW-/AbfG) from 1996 onwards. The full title of the ordinance was "Ordinance on the Avoidance and Recycling of Packaging Waste". The aim was obvious: Instead of leaving the responsibility for the disposal of packaging to consumers and local authorities and thus having it financed by tax money, companies were made responsible for their packaging as marketers and thus product responsible. The new Packaging Act also continues this system.
The packaging ordinance proved to be no longer functional in the end. The dual systems were increasingly used by so-called free-riders who did not meet their obligation to participate in the system, and even an amendment to the Packaging Ordinance could not change this.
Also to change this, the Packaging Act (VerpackG) was passed, which replaced the Packaging Ordinance at the beginning of 2019 and now provides for an obligation to register and report data to the Central Agency Packaging Register (ZSVR) via the LUCID database in addition to the obligation to participate in the system. In this way, it is possible to transparently track which companies meet their obligations under the German Packaging Act.
The German Packaging Act (VerpackG) transposes the European Packaging Directive 94/62/EC into German law.
In order to dispose of and recycle packaging that is subject to the system participation or licensing obligation, there are currently nine suppliers, known as dual systems, who are eligible as partners in fulfilling the licensing obligation under the Packaging Act. The term is actually a little misleading because the entire system of waste management or disposal is also called a "dual system" under the Packaging Act.
Initially, especially during the Packaging Ordinance, Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH (DSD) still had a monopoly in this area, but this ended in 2003. Since then, other system operators have gradually been admitted, so that a number of companies now operate in free competition with each other. These include the Interseroh Dual System, which is behind Lizenzero and was founded in 1991.
With the Lizenzero-Whitepaper you get a quick overview of the most important information about the packaging law (VerpackG).
- What has changed with the Packaging Act (VerpackG) compared to the previously valid Packaging Ordinance?
- Who is specifically affected by the German Packaging Act?
- Do your packaging volumes fall under the regulations of the packaging law?
- Practical Packaging Act instructions, with which you can fulfill your obligations in a time and cost efficient way
Compact instructions for registration and data reporting to LUCID (Central Agency Packaging Register)
With our instructions, we will guide you step by step through the registration and data reporting process – the two obligations arising from the Packaging Act that have to be fulfilled at the LUCID packaging register.
This is how it works
Create a Lizenzero account
In the next step you create your customer account.
This will provide you with numerous exclusive services (e.g. volume download for LUCID).
Select your preferred payment method and confirm the contract. Done!