Central Packaging Register Office Recognized as a Federal Authority

The 2nd German Packaging Law Day Organizer by the dfv Mediengruppe  dealt with the Packaging Act and current court rulings among other things.

The Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister (ZSVR) cannot complain about a lack of work. The amendment to the packaging law contained a large number of new tasks for the ZSVR as well as changes in registration and data reporting, which required extensive conversion work in LUCID and the comprehensive revision of texts (website, sample texts). Martin Kardetzky, Head of Legal and Waste Management at the ZSVR, reported on the status of registration and current legal rulings at the 2nd German Packaging Law Congress in Frankfurt am Main. The congress was organized by the Zeitschrift für das gesamte Lebensmittelrecht and packREPORT, both trade media published by the dfv Mediengruppe.

The Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister was established to implement the Packaging Act, which was passed in spring 2017. Since the Packaging Act came into force on January 1, 2019, the ZSVR, which is based in Osnabrück, Germany, has been established to act as an authority to ensure greater transparency and control in the packaging recycling market. To this end, it maintains a packaging register of all legally obligated companies from industry and trade, reconciles quantities from manufacturers and systems, and ensures more recycling-friendly design in packaging by  issuing standards. It performs essential market monitoring tasks with regard to the obligations of the dual systems and industry solutions, as well as the obligations of the manufacturers of packaging subject to system participation. The manufacturers of packaging subject to system participation are listed in a packaging register. Last year, another stage of the new regulations came into force. The amendment to the Packaging Act expanded the group of packaging distributors subject to registration. The registration obligation has applied to all types of packaging since July 2022. Online marketplaces will no longer be allowed to accept goods from manufacturers who have not previously registered their packaging with a system.

“The expanded producer registration has exceeded expectations with approximately 682,000 registrations currently in place,” Kardetzky said. In 2022, 416,000 more companies registered than in previous years combined. In January 2023, another 17,000 registrations were added, the expert reported. The amendment to the Packaging Act has led to a significant increase, he said. “In particular, the controls of the marketplaces and educational campaigns via the various communication channels made an important contribution.” There were also many registrations from abroad, with double-digit percentage increases in registrations from all over the world – especially from China, the UK, and the USA.

Kardetzky was able to present a recent court decision to the trade visitors from the legal and business sectors, which he believes was correct. The background to this is the legal question of whether the ZVSR is a federal authority and whether the court in Osnabrück has jurisdiction for all lawsuits against the ZVSR, since the ZVSR has its headquarters there. The Osnabrück Administrative Court had referred four pending lawsuits in connection with the Packaging Act against the ZSVR to the administrative courts with local jurisdiction at the plaintiffs‘ registered offices. One of these four administrative courts, the VG Stuttgart, had appealed to the Federal Administrative Court to clarify the question of jurisdiction. The latter has now ruled that the VG Osnabrück is the competent court for actions for annulment against administrative acts by the ZSVR. “This is an important signal for the uniform application of the Packaging Act and uniform jurisdiction in packaging law proceedings,” says Kardetzky.

The Federal Administrative Court’s decision also recognized that the ZSVR is a federal authority within the meaning of the Administrative Court Code with nationwide powers circumscribed in the Packaging Act.

Dr. Markus W. Pauly, an attorney with the law firm PAULY Rechtsanwälte, another speaker at the conference, also welcomes the Federal Administrative Court’s decision. “This is a pragmatic solution.” If the respective courts from the plaintiffs‘ cities were responsible, this would have led to a fragmentation of jurisdiction, Pauly says. That would not have been in anyone’s interest.

by Anna Ntemiris