As from 1 January 2019, the new German Packaging Act (VerpackG) will replace the current German Packaging Ordinance (VerpackV).
The operators of small online shops, who bring packaged products (including padding material) onto the German market and which end up as waste with the consumers, are subject to the VerpackV and VerpackG. The principle of extended product responsibility applies here. Thus, those parties are responsible for ensuring the collection and recycling of all related packaging materials.
The new law is applicable to all distributors who put packaging into commercial circulation on the German market for the first time, both for importers, natural producers and online dealers.
In addition, the VerpackV requires participation in one or more packaging scheme(s) when it comes to sales packaging and secondary packaging of circulation goods which will be sold via online shop on the German market. The provider will in return arrange for the collection and recycling of the packaging. Therefore, it is necessary to register packaging for participation in a dual system, which is a special recycling system, recognized and approved by the German administrations.
Companies must register with the Central Authority (Zentrale Stelle) before dispatching any products or the first time in Germany. This registration process should be completed before the law came into an effect, with businesses need to provide their company name, address, contact details, identification and tax registration numbers and brand names.
The new Central Authority, the Zentrale Stelle, will be established to boost the transparency of the overall system and will support the enforcement authorities. The aim is to set up an overall system for the national packaging waste disposal that is sustainable and eradicating competitive distortion. In addition to significantly increased targets for material recycling, the VerpackG will also tighten several obligations and definitions.
Germany has set goals to recycle and recover 63% of mechanically reclaimed materials and 90% of plastics placed on the market by 1st January 2019; and 90% of all metal, glass and paper by 2022.
British compliance firm Lorax Compliance has issued a warning that the companies which sell goods to Germany are left with less time to comply with the country’s latest packaging laws or face fines of up to €200,000. If businesses failed to comply with the new regulations, they can also be asked to stop selling goods on the German market.
Michelle Carvell, COO of Lorax Compliance said, “the country’s pending VerpackG legislation will affect all manufacturers, importers, distributors and online retailers placing goods for sale on the German market.” “Packaging waste reduction will be even more on the country’s radar following the publication of these surprising UBA figures, with Germany keen to show it is taking action to shrink its environmental footprint,” he added.
He also stated that “it’s imperative that companies check their compliance requirements to maintain market access, as we have no doubt that the VerpackG legislation will be robustly enforced. The new reporting structure also requires companies to review their previous classifications of business to business and business to consumer packaging through 36 product groups, which is far more detailed than before. We urge any businesses which are uncertain about their environmental obligations to get in touch and to leave plenty of time to ensure their compliance in this market.”