Pack­a­ging Act update

As of 1 July 2022, new regis­tra­ti­on obli­ga­ti­ons will take effect in Ger­ma­ny for manu­fac­tu­rers and dis­tri­bu­tors of packa­ged products.

In accordance with the Pack­a­ging Act, manu­fac­tu­rers and dis­tri­bu­tors of packa­ged pro­ducts are sub­ject to various obli­ga­ti­ons with regard to pack­a­ging. The­se include

  • noti­fi­ca­ti­on requirements;
  • return obli­ga­ti­ons;
  • recy­cling obli­ga­ti­ons; and
  • regis­tra­ti­on obligations.

The­se requi­re­ments for eco­no­mic ope­ra­tors are desi­gned to mini­mi­ze the nega­ti­ve envi­ron­men­tal impact of pack­a­ging. The regis­tra­ti­on obli­ga­ti­on was exten­ded on 1 July 2022 so that, as of that date, all manu­fac­tu­rers and dis­tri­bu­tors of packa­ged pro­ducts will be requi­red to regis­ter their pro­ducts online befo­re pla­cing them on the Ger­man mar­ket. This app­lies regard­less of which type of pack­a­ging is con­cer­ned: the obli­ga­ti­on app­lies to pack­a­ging in both the b2b and the b2c market.

The defi­ni­ti­on of “manu­fac­tu­rer” under the Pack­a­ging Act

The regis­tra­ti­on obli­ga­ti­on app­lies to all manu­fac­tu­rers in terms of the Pack­a­ging Act, who will be requi­red to regis­ter their packa­ged pro­ducts in the LUCID pack­a­ging regis­ter befo­re they can be pla­ced on the mar­ket. In accordance with the Pack­a­ging Act, “manu­fac­tu­rers” are tho­se who

  • place their packa­ged pro­ducts on the Ger­man mar­ket for the first time for com­mer­cial distribution;
  • import pack­a­ging into Ger­ma­ny for com­mer­cial dis­tri­bu­ti­on; or
  • fill pack­a­ging with pro­ducts for the first time and make it avail­ab­le on the Ger­man market.

The defi­ni­ti­on of “manu­fac­tu­rer” in the Pack­a­ging Act the­re­fo­re inclu­des a broad ran­ge of eco­no­mic ope­ra­tors which mar­ket their packa­ged pro­ducts in Ger­ma­ny. Asi­de from manu­fac­tu­rers of con­ven­tio­nal pro­ducts,  the defi­ni­ti­on may also inclu­de sta­tio­na­ry retailers and mail order/online dis­tri­bu­tors, as well as importers of packa­ged pro­ducts. The regis­tra­ti­on obli­ga­ti­on app­lies both to com­pa­nies which are based in Ger­ma­ny and to for­eign com­pa­nies which dis­tri­bu­te their pro­ducts in Ger­ma­ny. The lat­ter may appoint an aut­ho­ri­zed repre­sen­ta­ti­ve to com­ply with their obli­ga­ti­ons under the Pack­a­ging Act. Howe­ver, regis­tra­ti­on in the LUCID pack­a­ging regis­ter may only be per­for­med by the com­pa­ny itself.

Regis­tra­ti­on in the LUCID pack­a­ging regis­ter is online and free of char­ge. The fol­lowing infor­ma­ti­on must be provided:

  • the manufacturer’s name, address and con­ta­ct information;
  • the manufacturer’s aut­ho­ri­zed representatives;
  • the company’s natio­nal (com­mer­cial regis­ter) number;
  • the brand names under which the pack­a­ging is mar­ke­ted; and
  • infor­ma­ti­on about the type of pack­a­ging (trans­port pack­a­ging, sales pack­a­ging, grou­ped pack­a­ging, reus­able packaging).

Requi­re­ments for making pack­a­ging avail­ab­le in the b2c market

Addi­tio­nal requi­re­ments app­ly for manu­fac­tu­rers of pack­a­ging which is sub­ject to licen­sing requi­re­ments, a cate­go­ry which con­sists of sales and grou­ped pack­a­ging which is typi­cal­ly thrown away by end con­su­mers. Manu­fac­tu­rers of the­se types of pack­a­ging were requi­red to regis­ter their packa­ged pro­ducts with LUCID pla­cing their pro­ducts on the mar­ket even befo­re 1 July 2022. The­se manu­fac­tu­rers will also now be requi­red to issue a decla­ra­ti­on as to their licen­sing requi­re­ments in which they con­firm com­pli­an­ce with their take­back obli­ga­ti­ons. Manu­fac­tu­rers can com­ply with their take­back and dis­po­sal obli­ga­ti­ons by con­clu­ding a licen­sing agree­ment with one or more of the sys­tems or by par­ti­ci­pa­ting in one or more indus­try solu­ti­ons. Manu­fac­tu­rers of pack­a­ging which is sub­ject to licen­sing requi­re­ments are also requi­red to pro­vi­de the LUCID pack­a­ging regis­ter with cer­tain infor­ma­ti­on about the type of mate­ri­al and quan­ti­ty of packaging.

Legal con­se­quen­ces of vio­la­ting the regis­tra­ti­on obligation

If manu­fac­tu­rers fail to regis­ter their pro­ducts, ope­ra­tors of elec­tro­nic mar­ket­pla­ces may refu­se to allow them to offer their packa­ged pro­ducts on their plat­forms. As of 1 July 2022, ope­ra­tors of elec­tro­nic mar­ket­pla­ces will no lon­ger allow mail order and online dis­tri­bu­tors to offer pro­ducts on their plat­forms in pack­a­ging which is sub­ject to licen­sing requi­re­ments unless they have licen­sed and regis­tered their pack­a­ging. Moreo­ver, in case of pack­a­ging which is sub­ject to licen­sing requi­re­ments, ful­fill­ment ser­vice pro­vi­ders may only pro­vi­de their ser­vices for manu­fac­tu­rers which are regis­tered in LUCID and which have com­plied with their licen­sing requi­re­ments.
In accordance with the Pack­a­ging Act, manu­fac­tu­rers who fail to regis­ter their pro­ducts or do so impro­per­ly will not be allo­wed to dis­tri­bu­te their pro­ducts. Vio­la­ti­ons of the regis­tra­ti­on obli­ga­ti­on may be pena­li­zed as an admi­nis­tra­ti­ve offen­se, with a fine of up to € 100,000. Affec­ted com­pa­nies should the­re­fo­re regis­ter as soon as pos­si­ble if they have not done so already.

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