What does the new German packaging law entail?

There is a new packaging law around the corner in Germany. For companies that sell packaged products on the German market, it will require registration and paying a fee. The law aims to increase the recycling of plastic and will come into effect on January 1, 2019.

It will affect 'Business to Consumer' packaging (B2C) only, and the fee is based on the amount of plastic introduced to the German market. The party that is considered the owner when the product crosses the border will be responsible for the fee.

What type of packaging is affected by this law?
The new packaging law applies to 'Business to Consumer' packaging. This includes all packaging, for both plants and flowers, intended to reach the consumer. Examples include:

  • Sleeves or wrapping film
  • Labels
  • Stickers
  • Cardboard packaging
  • Plastic plant pots that the consumer removes immediately after purchase (like with garden plants)

What's not covered by this law?
If a pot is intended to remain with the plant for its entire lifespan, it is exempt from the new legislation. This also applies to transport packaging, such as plant trays. These types of packages are seen as Business to Business (B2B) packaging.

Responsibility for declaration
The party that owns the product with the packaging at the time of the border crossing is responsible for the declaration and paying the fee.

In the case of supplying for sale in Germany, the supplier is responsible for declaring. With direct sales to German customers, two scenarios are possible. Is the supplier the owner at the border crossing? Then the supplier is responsible. If the customer is considered to be the owner at the time of the border crossing then the responsibility lies with the customer. If the supplier sells to a trading company that exports the products, that trading company is responsible.

Avoid fines and register
The law requires foreign companies active on the German market to do the following:

  • Enrollment in the so-called Zentralen Stelle (central register) Verpackungsregister. You can sign up here.
  • Concluding a license agreement with a recycling company for the amount of sales packaging that you will introduce to the German market. You will be charged for the total weight that you put into circulation. Recognized recycling companies can be found here.

More information: https://verpackungsgesetz-info.de/en/#loesungen 

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