We noticed that it is uncharted territory for many sellers: the renewed packaging legislation in Germany that has been in force since January 1, 2019. In the United Kingdom we have similar legislation, but it will not enter into force until you use 50,000 kg of packaging per year.
In this article, for now, we focus only on the Packaging Act (VerpackG). Every seller who brings packaged products to the German market is required to comply. In addition to the VerpackG, there is also important legislation on electronic equipment recycling (ElektroG) and battery recycling (BattG). Germany is known as a leader in legislative compliance (with penalty policy) and we would like to emphasize this: without registration for packaging legislation, it is forbidden to sell in Germany.
THE PACKAGING LAW IN SHORT
The company that sells packaged products on the German market for the first time must ensure that packaging is recycled.
Since January 1, 2019, the Packaging Regulation (VerpackV) has been replaced by the new Packaging Act (VerpackG). On the basis of this legislation, a new central control body is established, the so-called “Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister”. Any business who brings packaged products to the German market should register with the new body and conclude a contract with regard to a so-called “dual system”. The aim of the new legislation is to recycle more waste and encourage producers to use less environmentally burdensome packaging.
There are no small business exceptions. Anyone who markets packaging that ends up with “end consumers” and/or locations equal to private households (e.g. hospitality industry, hotel, hospitals, etc.) should register for VerpackG. The packaging legislation applies to all distributors, who are the first to bring packaging in Germany. This means that the legislation applies not only to national products, but also to importers and online merchants who put goods into circulation in Germany, including from the Netherlands.
TYPES OF PACKAGING
In Germany there is now a distinction between 3 types of packaging. There are slightly different rules for each type. It concerns consumer packaging, transport packaging and outer packaging.
This is the packaging you put on your product as a seller. The customer gets this packaging at home and discards it when the product is unpacked. If your products end up in locations that look like a household, it iss also seen as consumer packaging. Examples include hotels, restaurants and schools.
You are obliged to collect and take back consumer packaging if you are the first to market it in Germany. You will conclude a contract with a waste manager (also known as dual system), which takes over the recycling for you. By the way, Amazon is responsible for the box around your product.
The transport packaging is used to transport your products safely. Think pallets, boxes and plastic to cover the pallets you ship to Amazon. So it is really about B2B, not the customer. You are obliged to indicate these packaging in Germany as well.
Finally, you have outer packaging. These are not necessary for transportation, but they are useful to keep your products together. Think of the soda trays or tubes of toothpaste. Most sellers will not use this, but keep it in mind. In the Zentrale Stelle catalogue, you can see what other types of outer packaging are distinguished.
The same applies to this packaging as to consumer packaging. They must be reported to a dual system.
After deciding what type of packaging you need to specify, you decide which materials the packaging consists of. The VerpackG includes the following categories:
1. Glass – € 0,07 p/kg
2. Paper and cardboard – € 0,24 p/kg
3. Ferrous metals (metal alloys containing more than 50% ferrous metals) — €0.72 p/kg: This means packaging containing more than 95% ferrous metal/can.
4. Aluminium – € 0,79 p/kg: These are packaging containing more than 95% aluminum.
5. Plastic – € 1,2 p/kg
6. Beverage packaging – € 0,79 p/kg: The packaging for a beverage whose basis of the packaging is carton. Think of wine suits or packs of soda.
7. Composite packaging – € 0,97 p/kg: In addition to beverage packaging, you have more packaging consisting of different materials that cannot be separated manually. It is important that no part accounts for more than 95% of the total weight.
8. Other materials – € 0,10 p/kg: These include wood, cork, cotton, porcelain, stone and other metals not based on iron or metal.
Please note that for each type of material, waste managers have different prices to recycle it. The prices above are an indication and are from waste manager Landbell. Depending on the amount of waste you produce, prices are lower. For now we used the highest prices. If you export more products, prices will drop to about 10%. All packaging rates are in euros in Germany.
Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister
All sellers are required to register with the competent authority and should apply for a license from one of the dual removal systems in Germany. The “Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister” oversees its licenses and enforcement. The “Zentrale Stelle” collects information on the quantities and material types per dual system to ensure a proportionate distribution of costs for the installation, transport and related information obligations. Via the public register every company can gain insight into whether competitors have the required licenses and also pay for them. So your competitors can do this to you too! If you are not registered in the database, the products in question may no longer be put into circulation and therefore cannot be sold in Germany either. When Amazon (or any other marketplace you are selling on) is informed, your listing will be blocked immediately until you can show that you are certified.
HELP WITH THE PACKAGING LAW
We made arrangements with Landbell, one of the performers of a “dual system” to move forward to the registration and do the intake with them. We are happy to help you specify your packaging and do the filing for you. Learn more about this service here.