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The new Packaging Act will come into force on 1 January 2019, replacing the previous Packaging Ordinance. Every retailer who places packaging filled with goods on the market will then be responsible for taking it back and recycle it. The Luna Journal has summarized the changes that will result from it.
According to the Federal Environment Agency, every German generated an average of 220.5 kg of packaging waste in 2016. No other European country produces as much packaging waste as Germany. “We produce too much plastic waste in Germany. We want to change this by avoiding redundant plastic and ensuring that packaging is made smarter and more ecological,” says Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD). And what cannot be avoided must be recycled more than before. “With the Packaging Act, we are therefore setting higher recycling quotas,” announced Schulze.
Transparency in the collection and recycling of packaging waste
The aim of the new law, which comes into force at the beginning of January 2019, is for all manufacturers to meet their responsibilities and pay fees for the disposal and recycling of the product packaging they place on the market. The Central Packaging Register Foundation was set up specifically for this purpose and is responsible for strengthening transparency in licensing and supporting the enforcement authorities in combating sub-licensing. “The Central Office and the new LUCID packaging register will help to ensure that costs are distributed fairly among all polluters in the future. Some producers who have so far shirked their responsibilities may then have to think for the first time about how they can pack more economically and ecologically,” adds Schulze.
Packaging Act: Registration required for all manufacturers
The new law stipulates that all retailers who place packaging filled with goods on the market must register with the LUCID packaging register. Although the new Packaging Act will only be legally binding from the beginning of 2019, electronic registration is already possible. “With the early start of the register – already four months before the Packaging Act comes into force – we are giving all companies the opportunity to adapt to the new requirements now. Small companies in particular should be given sufficient time to be able to implement the requirements of the Packaging Act smoothly until the law officially comes into force,” explains Gunda Rachut, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation Central Office Packaging Register.
What is important here is that the initial registration must be carried out by each retailer himself or herself and may not be carried out by commissioned third parties. The registration itself is free of charge for the dealers; the fees to be paid will be calculated at a later date with the data report. First of all, it is necessary to open an account. After the activation through a confirmation e-mail the
- company address
- value added tax identification number (VAT ID) or the corresponding tax number.
- commercial register number, association register number, etc.
- Brand name or company Name
will be required for registration. Afterwards, the retailers receive a registration number and have to license with a dual system.
Third party licensing
As with the Packaging Ordinance, the so-called system participation obligation, or licensing obligation, stipulates that retailers may not organize the take-back and recovery of their packaging themselves. Instead, they must participate in one or more dual systems, which are freely selectable for the dealers. What is new, however, is the obligation to register with a dual system using the registration number obtained from the central office. For licensing purposes, the new law requires comprehensive information on the types and masses of materials used on the basis of an annually planned total weight:
- Type of material such as cardboard boxes, paper, cardboard, glass, styrofoam, adhesive tape, bubble wrap, etc.
- Material mass, e.g. 50 cardboards/month per 200 grams = 120 kg
Should the planned value increase in the course of the contract year, this must be reported subsequently.
Obligation to report data to the central office
Also new is the obligation to immediately report to the central office all data that was entered during licensing in a dual system. Distributors of only small quantities must also comply with this obligation. Since the dual systems must also transmit their corresponding data to the central office, a simple data comparison can be carried out and a high degree of transparency created.
As with registration, the data must also be reported to the central office personally by the trader and cannot be transferred to third parties. Only the preparation of this data may be carried out by competent third parties.
Violation not a trivial offense
The horrendous fines show that the violation of the new packaging law is not a trivial offense: Those who bring packaging into circulation without having previously registered and licensed their packaging materials must expect fines of up to 200,000 euros. Warnings from competitors, warning lawyers and warning associations are also to be expected.
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