Wrapping up the amendments to the Packaging Act

Philipp Reusch

On 20 January 2021, Germany's Federal Cabinet adopted a bill (PDF only in German) for amendment of the Packaging Act, setting the legislative process in motion. The changes in the law are to take effect on 3 July 2021, although some provisions will not become binding until 1 January 2022.

The German government has proposed these changes in response to recent developments, the relevance of which has been heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic. The new requirements are directed in particular at providers of "to-go" products and operators of online marketplaces, but will ultimately affect all companies subject to the Act, whether they are initial distributors, importers, manufacturers, (online) distributors, fulfillment service providers or authorized representatives.

Requirements extended to online distributors and fulfilment service providers

For the first time, the bill includes operators of electronic marketplaces and fulfillment service providers in the provisions of the Packaging Act as operators subject to extended producer responsibility. In accordance with the newly added § 7(7) of the Act, these operators are required to ensure that users of their platforms are entered in the LUCID Register and take part in the system.

ZSVR is watching you

The office responsible for Germany's packaging register, Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister (ZSVR), has announced that it will be intensifying its activities.  In addressing inadequate participation on the part of companies subject to the Act's requirements, ZSVR plans to focus on especially problematic industries and modes of distribution (only in German). In addition to changes to the content of the LUCID Register, the registration platform will feature a direct link to enforcement agencies in the future, so that concrete evidence of administrative offenses will be automatically reported to those agencies.

Practical advice

Online distributors and fulfillment service providers will be more closely involved in monitoring in the future. Accordingly, they should point out these changes in the law to their contracting parties, particularly the registration requirement, and confirmation of registration should be contractually required. It is therefore advisable to include clauses in future contracts with distributors and service providers requiring counterparties to register and furnish proof of registration.

We take this opportunity to point out that the end-of-year deadline to report packaging in circulation to the Packaging Register and the (dual) systems which is subject to participation in the system expired on 31 January. Companies have until 15 May 2021 to file declarations of completeness for the previous year.

[February 2021]