New case report of the Central Agency Packaging Register

Category: compliance Industry: consumer goods Author: Year:
Philipp Reusch

Background

European-wide product responsibility for the avoidance, reuse and recycling of packaging is implemented in Germany through the Packaging Act. In addition to monitoring and registration tasks, the Foundation Central Agency Packaging Register (ZSVR) is also responsible for topical public relations work. Since the start of 2020, it has published case reports on current administrative procedures. These are supposed to make it easier for obligated companies to fulfil their ecological product responsibility and thus avoid potential legal violations.

Compliance is the duty of enterprisers

In its third case report (PDF) (published on 21 September 2020), ZSVR discusses violations committed by a group of affiliated IT trading companies with their own direct sales, including computer hardware. ZSVR makes it clear that the packaging of IT equipment resulting from sales, repackaging and shipping is eligible for processing in the system almost without exception. 

The companies disregarded their obligation to report to the LUCID Register which has been in force since 1 January 2019. Consequently, they also failed to conclude a contract with a company to facilitate participation in the system. In doing so, they evaded their extended product responsibility to bear the costs for the disposal and recycling of their packaging. (It is noted here that the obligation to participate in the system existed even before the Packaging Act came into force.)

Only when ZSVR pointed out the misprision did the companies redress their omissions. In doing so, they signalled a willingness to cooperate. Nevertheless, retrospective conduct cannot hide the fact that the companies had not created sufficient compliance systems to meet their obligations on their own.

Costly omissions and ban on distribution

ZSVR itself has no authority to sanction violations. However, it reports suspected administrative offences to the competent state enforcement authority. Such offences can be subject to heavy fines (up to EUR 200,000 per case), including a forfeiture of profits. In addition, a party can be subject to a suspension of sales as long as it has not registered and/or is not participating in the system. In other words, such a suspension can follow both from the failure to report to the LUCID Register and from the failure to participate in the system.

Reminder: Register packaging quantities for 2020 and 2021 in due time

The recently published case report illustrates once again that obligations under the Packaging Act must not be neglected. In this context, we remind you that the relevant packaging quantities must be reported in advance as estimated quantities and afterwards as actual quantities in the LUCID Register. All affected persons are responsible for doing so.

[October 2020]