Service & Advice > FAQ > Packaging Act

The Packaging Act: old has become new – since 1 January 2019

All requirements of the Packaging Act on packaging licences with dual systems

What were the most important changes from the Packaging Ordinance to the Packaging Act 2019?

The most important new development for manufacturers, retailers (online and stationary) and importers was the creation of the Central Agency Packaging Register. Since then, it has ensured more transparency and control in packaging licensing in Germany. In order to achieve it, the following legal requirements were implemented in connection with the Central Agency in the Packaging Act:

Mandatory registration with the Central Agency in accordance with the Packaging Act.

The publication of the registration on the internet for control by third parties (trade, competitors, consumers, associations, etc.). (Link zum Herstellerregister)

A regular data reporting to the Central Agency (parallel to the reports to the dual system).

Deposit of the declaration of completeness with the Central Agency by 15 May

A catalogue for packaging subject to system participation. In order to enable a classification into packaging subject to system participation and packaging not subject to system participation, the Central Agency has had a catalogue of packaging subject to system participation compiled. (Link zum Katalog)

Further information can be found in our leaflet Packaging Act.

What were the most important changes in the amendment?

In order to implement European requirements from the Single-Use Plastics Directive (EU)2019/904 and the amended Waste Framework Directive (EC) 2008/98, the Packaging Act was amended. In addition, further updates and amendments were made. The updated Packaging Act came into force on 3 July 2021. However, some regulations will only apply gradually from 1 January or 1 July 2022. Here is a brief overview: 

Registration obligation for final distributors of service packaging: Regardless of whether the obligation to participate in the system for service packaging has been delegated from the final distributor to the pre-distributor, the latter must register with the central body from 1 July 2022. However, the system participation obligation can still be delegated to the primary distributor, but the registration obligation can no longer be delegated. When registering, each final distributor must submit a declaration that it has only placed service packaging already participating in the system on the market. Further information can be found HERE.

Extension of the registration obligation to all manufacturers: From 1 July 2022, all manufacturers of packaged goods are obliged to register with the Central Authority. The legal innovations particularly affect commercial manufacturers and distributors of the following packaging, for example, such as: 
- Transport packaging
- sales and outer packaging in the commercial sector
- system-incompatible" sales and secondary packaging
- Sales packaging of pollutant-containing products
- Reusable packaging and 
- single-use plastic beverage containers with a deposit.

New information obligationsiInformation obligations: From 3 July 2021, the final distributors of packaging that is not subject to system participation (e.g. in the commercial sector) must inform the final consumer to an appropriate extent about the return option and its purpose.

E-commerce inspection obligation: From 1 July 2022, electronic marketplaces may no longer allow packaging subject to system participation to be offered for sale if its manufacturers have not participated in a dual system and are not registered in the packaging register of the central body. The same also applies to so-called fulfilment service providers. Violations can be punished with a fine of up to €100,000/individual case.

▶ Minimum use of recycled material in single-use plastic beverage bottles: For the first time, a minimum recyclate input quota will be set for single-use plastic beverage bottles. From 1 January 2025, at least 25 percent by mass of each PET single-use plastic beverage bottle must consist of recycled material. On 1 January 2030, the obligation will be extended and all single-use plastic beverage bottles - regardless of the plastic - must consist of at least 30% recycled material by mass.

Extension of the deposit obligation: From 1 January 2022, almost all non-refillable plastic beverage bottles and beverage cans with a filling volume of between 0.1l and 3.0l are subject to the deposit obligation. However, for milk, mixed milk drinks and other drinkable milk products filled in non-returnable plastic beverage bottles or beverage cans, the draft law provides for the mandatory deposit only from 1 January 2024. Failure to comply with the obligations resulting from §31 of the Packaging Act could result in a fine of up to €100,000/individual case.

Offer reusable alternatives: For final distributors/fillers of disposable plastic food packaging or disposable beverage cups (restaurant, café, bistro), there is an obligation from 1 January 2023 to offer a reusable alternative, which may not be offered at worse conditions or a higher price than the same product in disposable packaging.

How is a packaging type defined?

The different types of packaging (sales packaging, including service and secondary packaging, transport packaging, shipment packaging, as well as disposable packaging) are defined in § 3 Packaging Act. Decisive for the classification as system participation-obligated is the assessment of whether a packaging typically accumulates at the private end-user (Definition siehe Frage zum Endverbraucher). Find out whether your packaging is subject to system participation by answering just a few questions: To the quick check

Who is a private final consumer according to the Packaging Act?

Private final consumers are private households and comparable sources of generation which do not resell the goods in the form delivered to them (also see: question on comparable sources of generation).

What is a comparable source of generation?

A comparable source of generation is a commercial enterprise or a cultural institution. Since waste is generated there in a similar way and in similar quantities as in a private household, it is treated the same as a private household in the Packaging Act. This includes, for example, restaurants, hotels, canteens, administrations, barracks, hospitals, educational institutions, charitable institutions, freelancers and typical sources of generation in the cultural sector such as cinemas, operas and museums as well as in the leisure sector such as holiday resorts, amusement parks, sports stadiums and service stations. This also includes farms and craft enterprises that have household collection containers for paper, cardboard, cartons and light weight packaging with a maximum of one 1,100 litre container per material group and that can be disposed of in the household collection cycle.

How high are the fines for non-compliance with the Packaging Act?

We have summarised the most relevant fines for all distributors below:

 System participation § 7 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1: Anyone who puts packaging into circulation but does not participate it correctly or completely in a dual system shall pay a fine of up to €200,000.

 Registration § 9 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1: Anyone who fails to register, registers incorrectly, registers incompletely or does not register on time is liable to a fine of up to €100,000.

 Registration § 9 Paragraph 5 Sentence 2: Registration § 9(5): A fine of up to €100,000 also applies to companies that offer packaging for sale that is not registered, not registered correctly, not registered in full or not registered in time (concerns distributors of packaging [traders, wholesalers, resellers, online traders, etc.]).

 Data reporting § 10 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1: Whoever fails to report data, or does so incorrectly, incompletely or late, shall be punished by a fine of up to € 10,000.

 Declaration of Representation § 11 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1: Anyone who does not file a declaration of completeness, or does not file it correctly, completely or on time, may be liable to a fine of up to € 100,000.

In addition, the Central Agency can withdraw the registration in case of certain violations and there is the threat of a distribution ban! Furthermore, in the course of the Packaging Act amendment there is the possibility of confiscation of objects.

Is the Green Dot (Der Grüne Punkt) still compulsory?

No, in Germany the Green Dot has not been mandatory since 01.01.2009. In case producers want to educate their customers on correct waste separation, free and cross-market separation guides are available." Only in Greece, Spain and Cyprus there is still an obligation to label with the Green Dot.

How can the recyclability of a packaging be determined?

In view of the complexity of the minimum standard published by the Central Agency in coordination with the Federal Environment Agency, BellandVision has developed a recycling tool for its customers. With the help of this software, manufacturers of packaging subject to system participation can test the recyclability of their packaging quickly, easily and straightforwardly. For manufacturers and retailers with a large variety of differently packaged products, the online tool also makes it possible to generate individual data records for their own product range and to determine a representative status quo regarding the recyclability of their packaging.

In order to support industry and trade in improving the recyclability of their packaging, BellandVision offers the SUEZ.circpack® consulting service together with the sorting and recycling experts from the parent company SUEZ. With the help of workshops and in-depth consulting, BellandVision customers can acquire recycling knowledge and, together with our recycling experts, develop targeted and individual solutions for recyclable packaging and have these certified. The prerequisites for successful recycling are taken into account along the entire packaging cycle: from the production and filling of a package to its collection, sorting and recycling and finally its reuse. In view of the international nature of the SUEZ Group, requirements for packaging recycling in other countries can also be included in the optimisation process and the recyclability of a packaging is thus not only given in Germany, but internationally.

If you are interested, please contact us!

Where do disposable and reusable beverage packaging have to be labelled ''ONE WAY'' and ''REUSABLE''?

Labelling must take place at the point of sale, i.e. in the shop or in the internet shop. Labelling in the advertisement brochure is not necessary because a brochure is not a point of sale.

What parts must be labelled when one-way bottles are sold in a returnable crate?

For the labelling at the point of sale, the filled beverage packaging is decisive, i.e. the one-way bottle. In the returnable crate itself, the beverage is not filled, therefore the labelling obligation applies to the beverage packaging.

Are you a producer, importer, stationary or online trader? Then you will find a lot more information and a practical checklist for your next steps here:

Info for Manufacturers
Info for Retailers
Info for Online-Retailers
Info for Importers
Info for Small Businesses
Info for Service Packaging