To whom do the regulations of the packaging law apply?
The purpose of the current Packaging Act is to avoid or reduce the impact of packaging waste on the environment. To achieve this goal, the law is intended to regulate the behavior of obligated parties in such a way that packaging waste is avoided as a matter of priority and, in addition, is prepared for reuse or recycled.
In simple terms, anyone in Germany who produces, imports or additionally packages goods in packaging for private end customers, such as online retailers, falls under the Packaging Act and must participate in a nationwide take-back system, a dual system (the nationwide collection of the packaging waste collected in this way is handled by the dual systems).
Who needs to register?
The Packaging Act applies to producers, importers and online retailers who place goods in packaging for private end consumers on the market in Germany for the first time. They are considered "initial distributors" who must register in the LUCID public register. Before placing packaging on the market, they must register and license the packaging with a nationwide take-back system for used sales packaging (system operator). After registration, they receive an identification number, the so-called LUCID registration number.
In addition, they must participate in one or more dual systems with their packaging to ensure nationwide take-back. As of 01.07.2022, all manufacturers of packaging will be required to register in the LUCID packaging register.
Private end users also include comparable points of generation. These are, for example, all restaurants, hotels, hospitals, educational institutions and branches of freelancers.
Shipping and outer packaging, the majority of which remains with the end consumer, is also subject to licensing. Furthermore, small craft businesses as well as agricultural businesses are also included. The one-way deposit for beverage packaging is also regulated in the Packaging Act.
There is no obligation for licensing and registration for packaging that remains mainly with retailers, industrial customers or larger craft businesses/workshops, etc.. Here, only a take-back obligation for the packaging applies.
Which packaging is affected?
In principle, all sales, outer and shipping packaging, including all filling materials as well as service packaging, is subject to system participation and must be licensed via the Dual System. Depending on the type of use, there are different types of packaging, including primarily sales packaging, outer packaging, service packaging, shipping packaging and transport packaging.
The Central Office's catalog for packaging subject to system participation contains a detailed list of which packaging must or must not be licensed.
Sales packaging expressly includes service packaging and shipping packaging. Service packaging is always subject to system participation, while shipping packaging is listed in the catalog but is also subject to system participation in the vast majority of cases.
What happens if you don't register?
Manufacturers and importers of packaging must register before they can place it on the market in Germany for the first time.
The distributor is not allowed to sell the products to private end consumers. There is a risk of heavy fines and a ban on distribution.
On the administrative level, there is the threat of fines of up to EUR 200,000 as well as further sanctions such as the skimming of profits made.
How does packaging licensing work?
The manufacturer is responsible for the proper disposal of its packaging. In addition, every distributor must license its packaging with a dual system.
Packaging subject to system participation accumulates at households or household-like collection points (e.g. hospitals, restaurants, hotels or offices). Packaging is collected there in the yellow garbage can, the yellow bag, the paper garbage can and the municipal glass containers.