Good start of the packaging register

The Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister started with the Packaging Act. It ensures greater transparency in the financing of waste disposal and the use of packaging.

Since 1 January, far-reaching new regulations have been in force for packaging disposal in Germany. On the one hand, significantly more packaging is to be recycled. On the other hand, all commercial companies – from corporate groups to small retailers – that fill packaging for the first time and place it on the market should also pay for its collection and recycling.

Less and better recyclable packaging

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze formulated the idea behind it as follows: “We want the industry to think comprehensively about which packaging is really necessary and which materials are used in an environmentally friendly way. This works particularly well when environmentally harmful behaviour is rewarded by more expensive and environmentally friendly behaviour. This is where the Packaging Act comes in. Less packaging, but better recyclability – that is the goal.”

In Germany, product responsibility for packaging, i.e. the obligation to finance the disposal and recycling of packaging placed on the market itself, had already been in force since 1993, but numerous companies did not fulfil this obligation due to a lack of official control possibilities.

Hardly any opportunities left for previous “conscientious objectors”

However, the situation changed significantly on 1 January: Since then, all affected companies, whether large or small, have had to register their master data and the brand names they sell in the new LUCID packaging register. In addition, reports on the quantities of packaging placed on the market each year must be submitted to this online register at least once a year.

Those who do not comply with these legal requirements face sanctions. Those who fall within the scope of the Packaging Act and do not comply with their obligations are subject to an automatic ban on the sale of their goods. This applies to all distribution stages up to the final distributor stage of a product, for example a kiosk. Sensitive fines can be imposed as a supportive measure

An authority as a supervisory authority

Compliance with these obligations is monitored by the “Zentralen Stelle Verpackungsregister” (ZSVR) in Osnabrück. The foundation authority keeps the obligated companies in a public register, which is also accessible to consumers, records the registered companies’ reports on packaging quantities and dual systems and compares them. This will be made possible for the first time by the fact that, in addition to the companies, the dual systems will in future also have to report the packaging quantities to the LUCID packaging register in the context of the registration number available for each contract.

Each obligated party is responsible for the registration at  https://lucid.verpackungsregister.org and the execution of the reports on the packaging quantities. It is not possible to delegate the fulfilment of obligations to third parties. On the website of the www.verpackungsregister.org, you will find numerous information on the Packaging Act as well as on all changes, new obligations and deadlines.

A catalogue for the identification of notifiable packaging

This includes, among other things, a (comprehensive, but not yet complete) catalogue, which is intended to assist in the classification of whether packaging is subject to system participation or not. However, since the ZSVR itself is not allowed to provide legal advice, fundamental questions regarding the system participation obligation must be answered in cases of doubt with system operators, consultants, experts, auditors or other relevant economic actors. According to the ZSVR, the registration procedure itself has been “streamlined and takes about 10 to 15 minutes”.

By 25 January 2019, 150,000 companies had already registered in the LUCID packaging register. “This means that 90,000 more companies are registered than was previously the case with the dual systems. This is a good start,” says Gunda Rachut, head of the foundation authority.

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