Do you supply packaged goods for sale in Germany? If so, you are subject to this statutory obligation. Here is everything you need to know.
The German Packaging Act
Under the Packaging Act, packaging compliance is mandatory for both producers and distributors who bring sales packaging into circulation in Germany. In other words, anyone who fills sales packaging with goods for the first time and distributes these packaged goods, typically resulting in the production of waste at a private end customer, must report this packaging (for inclusion in a dual system).
This type of packaging is also referred to as “packaging subject to system participation requirements.”
What is a dual system?
A dual system ensures that packaging subject to system participation requirements can be properly collected from private end customers and sorted, before as much of it as possible is recycled or reused. There are different dual system providers in Germany; they are all subject to the terms of the Packaging Act.
Producers and distributors pay a fee to their chosen dual system, which covers the collection, sorting and recycling of their sales packaging. The fee is dependent on the weight, material type and volume of sales packaging that is brought into circulation.
All producers and distributors whose packaging ends up as waste with private end customers must include this packaging in a dual system.
Dual systems such as Noventiz Dual have come into existence because producers, distributors and mail order/online retailers are unable to ensure packaging compliance by themselves. A dual system ensures that packaging can be properly collected from private end customers and sorted, before as much as possible of it is recycled or reused. The use of the system by producers and distributors is paid for through a fee, the amount of which depends on the weight (mass), material type and volume of the sales packaging.
Since 1 January 2017, Noventiz Dual has served as a dual system for the domestic collection and recycling of sales packaging occurring as waste in some 40 million German households.
Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister –
the packaging registry
All dual systems and all producers (first distributors, online retailers, importers, etc.) are monitored on an ongoing basis by the Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister (ZSVR), referred to in English as the packaging registry. Anyone can check the public register (LUCID) free of charge to verify that a producer has properly met its statutory obligations. Producers who do not ensure compliance may be subject to heavy fines.
Stay on the safe side with Noventiz
Report your packaging online now in English.
What packaging is subject to system participation?
Generally, all sales, shipping, service and secondary packaging that results in waste at the level of the private end customer is considered to be subject to system participation. Only transport packaging that remains exclusively with commercial agents does not have to be included in the system.
For the purposes of the Packaging Act, private end customers are both private households and “comparable waste-producing sources”. These include hospitality venues, small food producers, hotels, canteens, architects, bee-keepers, ice-cream producers and administrative offices such as insurance agents, tax advisors and law firms. Agricultural operations and craft businesses are also included.
• Produktkartons, die zusammen mit dem Produkt im Regal stehen
• Styroporschalen in einer Produktbox
• Shipping pallets
• Plastic wrap
• Plastic straps
• Cardboard covers
• Wooden boxes
• Plastic shopping bags
• Take-away cups
• Bakery bags
• Carry boxes (e.g. beer carriers)
• Plastic packaging containing several bars of chocolate
• Cigarette papers
• Cardboard boxes
• Packing chips
• Shredded paper
• Shipping envelopes
Who has to report packaging for the purposes of packaging compliance?
Whether or not a producer or distributor is required to report sales packaging depends on who first brings the packaging that is subject to system participation requirements into circulation to Germany. Therefore, companies that only produce the basic packaging material are not considered to be producers in the context of the Packaging Act.
Do you have packaging that is subject to compliance?
Find out here online.
How much does packaging compliance cost?
The fee depends on the volume of sales packaging brought into circulation and on the type of packaging material.
You must include all packaging materials:
How are the volumes calculated?
When you sign a contract you must provide a forecast of the volume of sales packaging you expect to bring into circulation for the calendar year. The volume of packaging material is expressed in kilograms. There are two approaches:
You know the weight (mass) of the packaging that you have used.
Multiply the weight of an individual package by the number of packages that have been brought into circulation. The unit weight should be listed by your packaging supplier, in your customer account for example.
You do not have any information about the packaging weight.
Weigh one item of packaging that is subject to the system participation requirements, and multiply this by the number of items. The result of this calculation is the total weight of material brought into circulation.
You can use our calculator tool at Verpackung Direkt to calculate the fee you need to pay for your specific volume of packaging. This tool calculates the price and costs for your volumes and types of packaging material.
Would you like to report your packaging?
Use our calculator tool here.
How do I report my sales packaging?
You need to meet your obligations under the Packaging Act before you even fill and distribute your first packaging with goods. Here are five easy steps to reporting your packaging:
Using NOVENTIZ to ensure packaging waste compliance in Germany
Sound advice at all times
NOVENTIZ is perfect if you are looking for personal advice and a hassle-free packaging compliance process. Do you still have questions? No worries! Your personal account manager will be available at all times to help you with reporting your sales packaging. We will definitely find a solution to your needs.
Your one-stop shop
NOVENTIZ does more than just report sales packaging and transport packaging disposal. As a certified and audited disposal services provider, we also look after site disposal and handle waste electrical items and batteries.
If you are a first distributor of packaging that will result in the production of waste with the private end customer (e.g. “yellow bag”/“yellow bin”) you must register with the Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister packaging registry and sign up to one of the dual systems.
There is no minimum; the amount of packaging subject to system participation requirements that you bring into circulation is not important. As soon as you fill your first packaging with goods and/or distribute your first packaging, you must sign up to a dual system such as the one operated by NOVENTIZ. There are no exceptions. Distributors, producers, online retailers and small and micro businesses have to report their sales packaging, just like eBay and Amazon.
We recommend that you report your packaging subject to system participation requirements at the beginning of the year, as the compliance system applies for a calendar year. At that point you simply have to provide an estimate of the sales packaging you intend to bring into circulation. The actual fee to be paid will depend on the type and weight (mass) of packaging actually placed on the market.
NB: make sure you register and sign up before you start selling or producing goods. You must have already done this before distributing packaging for the first time!
Reporting will generally cover one calendar year. That means that even if you report your packaging part way through the year it will be effective retrospectively from 1 January. Most of the dual systems in operation therefore operate on a contract period running from 1 January to 31 December.
If you have forgotten to report your packaging subject to system participation requirements in good time, you should rectify this as quickly as possible. The penalties for non-compliance include fines and even a ban on sales. To sign up for a period that has already ended, simply enter the actual volume of packaging brought into circulation for the corresponding year. This Year-end Quantity Report must be sent to us as your dual system operator and to the Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister packaging registry.
There are no minimum thresholds for packaging below which producers or distributors are exempt from the reporting obligation. You must report your sales packaging as soon as you fill your first box.
However, there is a upper threshold for packaging brought into circulation above which an extra obligation under the Packaging Act applies, alongside registration and reporting.
Organisations producing in excess of this volume of packaging are required to submit a “Declaration of compliance”. This must be confirmed by a registered expert, auditor, tax advisor or certified accountant and submitted to the Zentrale Stelle.
The threshold for the declaration of compliance is set at the following levels per year:
- Glass: 80,000 kg or above
- Paper, paperboard, cardboard: 50,000 kg or above
- Plastic, metal, composites (total): 30,000 kg or above
No. You have to have a registration number before you can sign up for a contract with one of the dual systems.
This is mandatory: register first, then sign up.
Yes, service packaging is covered by a special rule. The difference is that service packaging is not filled with goods until the point of sale, for example when a loaf is placed in a bag by the sales assistant at the baker’s shop. Therefore, if the final distributor, in this case the baker’s shop, is the one to fill the service packaging and bring it into circulation, the shop does not necessarily have to have its own registration number for inclusion in one of the dual systems. Instead, it can use previously reported packaging from its supplier or request that the upstream distributor report the packaging for inclusion in a dual system in the upstream distributor’s own name and registration number.
Note: shipping packaging always has to be reported.
Of course! Used packaging is often perfectly serviceable and it would be a waste to simply dispose of it. However, you must remember to re-report it to one of the dual systems if you want to use it when selling goods to an end customer. Why? When you fill the packaging with your goods it becomes sales packaging or distribution packaging.
The system participation requirement for reused packaging is only waived if the distributor shows that the used packaging has already been reported to one of the systems.
We recommend that you stay on the safe side and report the full quantity of packaging you need, to ensure that you do not have to worry about being fined.
- Do foreign businesses or importers have to report their packaging in Germany?
Yes. Any packaging that is imported into Germany must be reported under the Packaging Act. This is because it falls under the scope of the Packaging Act (i.e. Germany) as waste produced at the private end customer. The reporting obligation lies with the company that imports the relevant packaging into Germany. This is generally the importer which ships the goods into the country or causes them to be imported.
Foreign producers and distributors who sell directly to customers in Germany are obliged to report their packaging. There is no difference here between importers located in other Member States of the EU and those from non-EU countries.
Have you got any other questions about packaging compliance in Germany?
Send us an e‑mail here.