To help users of printing houses quickly and easily understand which obligations they face in the new German packaging law, the Federal Printing and Media Association of Germany provides operational assistance to its members. The guidebook “Introduction to Packaging Law” provides background, legal tips on system participation, definitions of packaging types, and several examples.
From January 1, 2019, the new German packaging law applies to all packaging that is put into circulation and filled in Germany and is produced as waste by the end consumer. The regulations specifically concern manufacturers and distributors. The provider for so-called first product packaged with filling articles is considered as a manufacturer in the legal sense, and this package is commercially sold to individual consumers (private households and these similar places, such as offices, catering, kiosk, or handicraft man).
What kind of penalties will you face if you sell products in Germany without following the relevant German laws and regulations?
If you do not register, the new requirements may create obstacles for your company’s product sales. Before completing the registration, packaged goods cannot be marketed in Germany. Even if your company only places one item on the market each year, these requirements still apply.
Without registration, your company may suffer a huge fine of up to 50,000 euros in Germany, and any missed declaration will be fined tens of thousands of euros in late fees based on the sales weight. In addition, the bill will also encourage packaging manufacturers to incorporate recyclability considerations into packaging design. All companies must register to ensure market access.
What do sellers need to do to avoid huge fines?
- Check if your customer is an individual end consumer (see Chapter 3, Section 11 of the German Packaging Law), so that the sales package can be put on the market. Therefore, it is necessary to quantitatively determine which packaging material components are supplied to individuals and equivalent customers or large industrial and commercial customers.
- If the previous point 1 is fully or partially applicable, then you have to determine the corresponding total weight of the packaging put on the market each year, divided according to different materials. For example, paper, cardboard, carton, plastic, glass, etc.
- Register at the Packaging Registration.
- Compare system operators because their contracts have changed. In any case, you should seek a transparent and feasible cost estimation with the service provider for the current and next year or negotiate your license amount separately. Register your choice with the system operator and sign a contract regarding the permitted volume and materials. Declare your planned quantity to the system operator.
- Declare the planned quantity reported through the website to the system operator, and report to Packaging Register.
- At the latest after the expiration of each year, the actual packaging volume on the market must be declared not only to the system operator, but also to the Packaging Register.
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