What does the Packaging Act (VerpackG) mean for your brand?

The new packaging law VerpackG is the answer to more and more packaging waste. The coffee to go, the meal from the delivery service or the bar to go in small portions: According to the Federal Environment Agency, the number of packaging waste rose to 18.9 million tons in 2018. In 2019, the Packaging Act was supposed to change that. Since July 3, 2021, the new Packaging Act has now come into force, changing quite a bit in terms of packaging products. But what is the Packaging Act all about? We want to know in today's blog post: 

  • To which packaging does the Packaging Act apply?

  • Who is affected by the Packaging Act?

  • Which innovations & obligations do you have to consider?

VerpackG summarized

The Packaging Act (VerpackG) is the German law on the EU Packaging Directive 94/62/EC (PACK for short) and replaced the Packaging Ordinance (VerpackV) in 2019. The VerpackG regulates the introduction of new packaging and the return and recycling of packaging waste. With the Packaging Act 2 (VerpackG2), the VerpackG1 was extensively amended and implemented two EU directives on single-use plastics and the waste framework in German law from July 3, 2021. The new obligations of the packaging law are a central part of the extended producer responsibility within the framework of the circular economy aimed at throughout Europe. The aim of the Packaging Act is to give priority to avoiding packaging waste, but also to prepare packaging waste for reuse or recycling. At the same time, the VerpackG sets certain targets, such as the proportion of reusable beverage packaging and the quota for the valuable recycling of individual packaging materials such as wood, plastics & metals and glass, paper & cardboard. To disappear from sale 9 specific disposable products: Disposable cutlery and plates, drinking straws, stirrers, cotton swabs, plastic balloon wands, and certain to-go food containers and beverage cups such as containers made of foamed expanded polystyrene.

To which packaging does the Packaging Act apply?

The Packaging Act initially applies to all packaging. 

Packaging according to the Packaging Act are products made of any materials, which carry goods in any form, whether for protection, handling, delivery or presentation of the goods. 

For you as a Granola Brand, this means that both your Granola bag (sales packaging) and your sales unit with a certain number of Granola bags to the organic market (outer packaging) as well as the delivery box in which you send individual Granola bags to your customers from your online store (transport packaging) are considered packaging in the sense of the Packaging Act and are therefore also subject to the obligations of the Packaging Act. 

Here you can find an overview of the definitions of packaging according to the VerpackG:

To whom does the Packaging Act apply?

The Packaging Act applies to everyone who puts packaging filled with goods and accumulating at the end consumer into circulation. Especially for you as a brand, it is important to consider the basic obligations of the Packaging Act when planning your product packaging in order to avoid warnings or even penalties. The legislator has extended the obligations to a large number of companies. He himself reckons with 350,000 affected companies. 

What are the obligations? 

The legislator has extended the special obligations to a large number of companies. Basically, the following obligations apply to approximately 350,000 affected companies: 

  • General packaging requirements

  • System participation obligation

  • Reporting obligation

  • Take-back obligation

Too much packaging material, cartons that are far too large for the product being transported, or unnecessarily complex material compounds - all of these are regulated by the general requirements for packaging. Your packaging must be developed, produced or used in such a way that, for example, the packaging volume is limited & reuse or recycling is not only possible but also as pollutant-free as possible, with the aim of increasing the proportion of recycled materials in new packaging as much as possible. 

The material restrictions regulate the maximum values of harmful components such as lead, cadmium, mercury and chromium. 

Labelling to identify the packaging material is now also specified. The material your packaging is made of must be indicated on your packaging with fixed numbers and abbreviations.

Here you will find a summary of the markings:

An additional obligation is the system participation obligation. This obligation covers all packaging that typically ends up in the waste after receipt, i.e. outer packaging or shipping packaging. Anyone who sends such packaging is obligated to participate in one or more systems for the nationwide return of this packaging, such as the Green Dot, before it is placed on the market. 

In order for these systems to know how much packaging material is put into circulation each year, it is necessary to comply with the reporting obligation. This stipulates that companies must report their packaging requirements once a year to the system for return and to the competent authority, called LUCID (Internet platform of the Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister). 

Likewise, the obligation to take back the transport packaging placed on the market arises. This obligation states that companies that put packaging into circulation also undertake to take it back empty without payment. This mostly concerns packaging that typically does not end up with the end consumer but is only required for transport.

But what does this mean for you? Let's assume you own your own granola brand. You have estimated that you need about 100 kg of cardboard boxes and product packaging per year to ship your products. To meet your obligations, you register online with a system of your choice and submit the amount of packaging waste produced. Depending on the amount, you pay an annual amount to this system and thus fulfill your obligation to participate in the system. If you deliver a larger quantity of your granola to a trading partner, such as a large supermarket chain, you are responsible for taking back the materials used to ship this quantity. Again, there are third party providers that can help you with the take back. We can advise you on this, just get in touch via our contact form on our website.

What are the penalties for non-compliance with the Packaging Act?

Violations of the Packaging Act are by no means regarded by the law as a petty offense and can have serious consequences. For example, the regulatory authority sets the maximum fine at 200k EUR and also reserves the right to impose a ban on the sale of the goods concerned. 

In addition to penalties by the regulatory authority, competitors can obtain warnings, which in addition to time expenditure can also result in fines.

Would you like to learn more about the Packaging Act? Click here for the text of the law. 

Otherwise, you can contact us at any time at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!

Your Palamo Team

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