International EPR obligations
How can companies act compliant with the law in Germany and Austria?
In most countries, companies that put packaging on the market must take responsibility for its proper collection, sorting and recycling. To enable the best possible recycling of these recyclable materials, this packaging must be licensed with a collection and recycling system. With the help of the fees, these take-back systems can provide and finance the waste management infrastructure (containers, collection intervals, sorting of the different materials, recycling of recyclables).
“In addition, depending on the country, there are different, often very strict, requirements for recycling quotas, the use of recycled materials in packaging, special labelling requirements or minimum standards for the recyclability of packaging. Due to the large number of regulations, it has become a challenge for companies to keep track of national law and to comply with all obligations of extended producer responsibility in accordance with the law,” summarises Dr. Fritz Flanderka, Member of the Board of the Raan Group and renowned expert in packaging law the dilemma of many customers. “Failure to fulfil these obligations can even result in the power to export to a particular country being withdrawn.”
What is the legal situation in Germany?
The legal basis is the German Packaging Act (Verpackungsgesetz). The mandatory, nationwide participation in a collection and recycling system (= PRO) for packaging and the registration in the public manufacturer register LUCID of the Central Agency Packaging Register (ZSVR) apply. When licensing, a distinction is made between transport and sales packaging. Depending on how much transport and product packaging is required for the German market, the amount of the relevant license fee is determined. Depending on the packaging material (e.g., plastic, cardboard, glass, metal, etc.), different fees are due. As described above, these funds are used to organize the collection, sorting and recycling of the packaging.
With our service, you can fulfil this obligation in four simple steps:
- “Quick Check – System participation requirement: yes, or no?”
- In the catalogue published by the Central Agency Packaging Register, you can see which packaging is subject to the system participation obligation.
- In case of an obligation, please register free of charge in LUCID.
- With activate, you can license your packaging quantities simply and inexpensively, please follow the link: www.activate.eco
Which obligations apply to Austria?
The Austrian legal basis is the Packaging Ordinance (Verpackungsverordnung). As in Germany, mandatory nationwide participation in a collection and recycling system (PRO) for packaging also applies here. There is no obligation to register in a manufacturer register. However, the so-called Packaging Classification Ordinance (Verpackungsabgrenzungsverordnung) is in force, which prescribes a division into commercial and household packaging. Depending on the packaging material (e.g., plastic, paper, glass, metal, etc.), different fees are due, which are also used to organise the national collection, sorting and recycling of the packaging.
Since January 1st, 2023, it is new in Austria that companies without an own registered office in Austria must appoint a “representative” who assumes manufacturer responsibility before the legislator and is responsible for fulfilling the EPR obligations. If this is not done, the company is no longer allowed to sell any products in Austria.
“It makes sense to seek the support of our experts when it comes to questions about licensing of packaging. Regulations are becoming stricter, and companies must take more and more responsibility,” concludes Flanderka.
We have put together all the important questions and answers on the subject of “authorised representative in Austria” in our PDF-guide: A guide to the appointment of a representative in Austria
To analyse your personal situation in more detail, we recommend that you contact us. We gladly support you!