How to comply with the German VerpackG Packaging Act

To be successful in the German market, sellers must be aware of the regulatory requirements that exist when shipping to and from Germany. There is no criteria more important than the obligations associated with the German Packaging Act (VerpackG).

The Packaging Act came into force in 2019 and the legislation was further tightened in July 2022. When it comes to obeying the regulations of the Act, online retailers, electronic marketplaces and eCommerce fulfilment service providers are all in the same boat.

Businesses with lax handling conditions will experience high penalties for failing to comply with the law. Fines can easily reach the €200,000 mark. To qualify for trading in Germany, you must register your business via the LUCID packaging register and participate in one or more dual systems involved.

According to the Federal Environment Agency and Central Packaging Register, the rules in Germany are intended to make businesses assume “responsibility under waste law”. But to what extent do online retailers need to personally shoulder this responsibility, and which areas should they pay particular attention to when protecting themselves against penalties?

Read on to learn about the key areas to focus on when shipping to Germany.

Who is affected by the VerpackG Packaging Act?

All companies that place product or shipping packaging on the German market are subject to VerpackG regulations, and responsibility ultimately lies with the person/people actively fulfilling packages.

The Central Packaging Register remains vague about shipping to Germany from abroad. The official legislation simply states: “the importer is obliged to register and participate in the system. (This is the person who bears responsibility for the goods when crossing the border)”.

If you sell items that you also manufacture, you’re personally responsible for taking care of all product packaging requirements. This is particularly true of online retailers who ship their own goods. Not only is the finished packaging process subject to law, but so are the various components used. This includes a variety of materials, including:

  • Adhesive tape;
  • Foils;
  • Bubble and foam bags;
  • Protective covers made of fleece.