Environmental Consultancy

Due to Germany’s extensive Environmental Legislation, there are recycling obligations on manufacturers and distributors towards packaging, waste electronics and batteries.

© Fotolia / Cigdem

Fortunately, the Chamber offers British companies a practical consultancy service to explain their obligations under German Law and to simplify the application and reporting procedures to many of the schemes.

Our dedicated German-speaking experts will get to know your company and its products, advise which legislation will apply to you and take you through the next steps to ensure that you are meeting your obligations and submitting the relevant documentation.

Amendments and Extension of the German Packaging Law VerpackG

On 3 July 2021 a number of amendments to the German Packaging Law VerpackG will come into force, which will affect British B2C and B2B exporters.

The most important amendments are:

  • The definition of ‘eligible packaging’ has been extended to more types of packaging, affecting a wider range of companies, including now also B2B exporters
  • New regulations for transport packaging and other packaging not destined for the private user
  • New registration and reporting requirements for reusable packaging, service packaging and packaging that cannot currently be licensed, such as hazardous materials packaging
  • New requirements for plastic single-use drinks bottles and tins, milk and milk product packaging
  • New rules for composite materials
  • New regulations affecting  E-Commerce platforms and fulfilment service companies

For further information please click here.

EU Single-Use Plastics Directive

Single-Use Plastics Ban

To comply with the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive, Germany is banning certain single-use plastic products from 3 July 2021.

This affects products which can be made of alternative materials:

  • cotton buds, disposable plates and cutlery, straws, stirrers, balloon wands
  • food containers made of expanded polystyrene for immediate consumption or take-away
  • drinks containers made of Styrofoam/expanded polystyrene foam, including their tops and lids
  • any products made of oxo-degradable plastics and bio-based plastics
  • products that are partly made of any of these plastics, e.g. cardboard plates with a plastic coating => there is no minimum threshold – products containing any amount of these plastics are affected

Any remaining stock in distributor warehouses may still be sold after 3 July 2021, however producers are no longer allowed to sell/distribute the products.

More products may be added to the banned list over the coming years, please check back for further information.

Single-Use Plastics Labelling

Another part of the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive concerns certain single-use products which are made from or contain plastics and for which currently no sensible or ecologically sustainable alternative materials are available.

Additionally, the plastic content of these products is often not obvious to the consumer.

The product packaging and outer packaging of these products must be labelled from 3 July 2021:

  • sanitary products, especially sanitary towels
  • tampons and tampon applicators
  • wet wipes, especially those for body and household use
  • filters for tobacco products
  • tobacco products with filters

The labelling must be on the product for:

  • beverage cups (includes cardboard cups with plastic coating)

During the transition period until 3 July 2022, attaching non-removable stickers to the packaging/product is acceptable to satisfy labelling requirements.

Requirement for the construction of single-use plastic products

Lids and bottle tops made of plastic must be firmly connected to beverage containers ≤ 3 litres from 3 July 2024.

This does not apply to beverage containers made of glass or metal which have plastic tops.

Sales Packaging

The German Packaging Law VerpackG obliges manufacturers and distributors to take back used, empty sales packaging from consumers free of charge and to forward it for recycling, regardless of whether they sell direct, via retailers, wholesalers or importers.

Sales packaging is understood to be anything that helps with the containment, protection, handling, delivery or presentation of goods.

The easiest way to determine what is sales packaging is to establish if the packaging in question is discarded by the consumer/end-user. Basically, this is anything a consumer takes home with him upon purchase or receives through an online purchase (e.g. cartons, cans, tubes, jars, pots, polystyrene moulds and chips, bubble wrap, plastic bags, cardboard boxes etc.). End users are private households, but also small businesses (hair salons, bakeries, butchers’ shops, pharmacies etc.), schools, hospitals, old people’s homes, hotels, restaurants and other comparable institutions.

For all obligated companies, there is compulsory membership of a dual system (compliance scheme), which ensures that used sales packaging is regularly collected from end users.

For many years, the German-British Chamber has been advising British companies on how to comply with the many aspects of German environmental legislation. We work closely with different compliance schemes to give British exporters a real choice of systems, suited to their needs.

If you are selling in Germany and require advice on your sales packaging obligations, please complete and return the enquiry form and we will be in touch.

Transport Packaging

Packaging such as cardboard outers, pallets or shrink wrap, which is discarded by the wholesaler or retailer, is classified as transport packaging.

From 1 January 2022, producers and distributors will be required to keep records of the materials and weights of the transport packaging they introduce to Germany. The documentation needs to be available by 15 May for the previous calendar year.

From 1 July 2022, anyone introducing transport packaging to Germany will need to register with the Central Packaging Register (free of charge) and report their packaging categories.

The Chamber does not currently offer a service for transport packaging, however please see here for more information or contact us.

Central Packaging Register LUCID

Before placing sales packaging onto the German market, companies must register with the Central Packaging Register and obtain a registration number, which they need to conclude a licensing contract with a recycling scheme.

In addition to reporting their packaging data to their chosen recycling scheme, companies must also report the same data to LUCID, at the same time and frequency they report to their recycling scheme.

Companies that complete a Declaration of Compliance must have their documentation audited by an expert registered with the Central Packaging Register and file the documents with LUCID. The deadline is 15 May.

Compliance Schemes for Sales Packaging

Companies must declare to their compliance scheme the weights of each material type for the sales packaging they put into the waste stream in Germany. 

It is important to have details of weights and materials for each product’s sales packaging sold in Germany. These figures, with the sales figures for each product, are the basis for annual data submissions. 

Please also see the section on the German Packaging Register LUCID, as your company will need to obtain a LUCID registration number to be able to participate in a recycling scheme.

The German-British Chamber works with a number of compliance schemes in Germany and we can assist you in being compliant with the legislation. For more information, please complete and return the enquiry form.


Green Dot Logo

The Green Dot logo – two interlocking green arrows forming a circle – is no longer mandatory in Germany.

In previous years companies were required to display the logo on sales packaging to indicate that it was registered with a compliance scheme. This is still the case in some EU countries.

If your packaging in Germany is to display the Green Dot logo, you will need a trade mark contract with Duales System Deutschland, which owns the licence there.

For more information, send us an email.

Declaration of Compliance (Vollständigkeitserklärung)

A Declaration of Compliance (DOC) is a verification of the volumes of sales packaging placed into the German market by a manufacturer/distributor within one calendar year. 

This documentation is in addition to the regular data submissions for your sales packaging to Germany and must be audited by a tax consultant, auditor, certified accountant or independent expert registered with the Central Packaging Register and verified by electronic signature. 

A DOC is based on minimum volumes. The certified Declaration of Compliance is to be submitted each year, if one of the following volumes of packaging placed into the market are exceeded: 

Glass › 80,000kg/year 

Paper, card, cardboard  › 50,000kg/year

Other (Aluminium, plastic, composites, ferrous metals) › 30,000kg/year 

As soon as one of these limits has been exceeded, a DOC must be submitted for all packaging materials.

The data must be submitted to the Central Packaging Register LUCID by 15 May each year.

Compulsory Deposit Scheme

Drinks manufacturers should be aware that there is a compulsory deposit scheme in operation in Germany for drinks containers such as one-way glass bottles, one-way PET bottles and beverage cans with volumes of 0.1 litres to 3 litres. 

This includes all beer, mineral water, carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, alcoholic mixed drinks (e.g. alcopops) and carbonated fruit and vegetable nectar.

The new law also obliges the final distributor to label the shelves as „ONE WAY“ or „RETURNABLE“ beverage packaging.

Packaging for milk, wine and fruit juices that isn’t covered above, as well as ecologically advantageous packaging such as drink cartons, polyethylene tubular bags and stand-up bags remain exempt from deposit but are still subject to the recycling obligations under the Packaging Law.

From 2022, all single-use plastic drinks bottles and single-use drinks cans will need to be part of a deposit scheme.

From 2024, the deposit scheme will be extended to all milk and milk product packaging.

For information on the deposit scheme, please visit DPG Pfandsystem.

Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment and Batteries in Germany

With the introduction of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG), consumers in Germany are able to return old radios, computers and other electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to local collection points free of charge. Producers are then obligated to take back the equipment collected and to dispose of it.

The law was amended in August 2018 to cover goods with an electrical/electronic function, e.g. furniture and clothing with electrical/electronic function, and introduced changes to the categories of equipment to be registered.

The Batteries Act (BattG) in Germany aims to reduce the environmental impact of batteries and applies to all types of batteries and accumulators/secondary batteries, i.e. automotive batteries, industrial batteries and rechargeable and non-rechargeable portable batteries.

The Batteries Act (BattG) requires manufacturers and importers to take back waste batteries as part of their extended producer responsibility. Collection schemes have been set up for the collection and handling of portable batteries that require manufacturers to properly recycle returned waste batteries and dispose of non-recyclable batteries.

The Chamber works with compliance companies to offer British exporters a simple and cost-effective solution to WEEE and battery compliance in Germany.

For more information and advice, please email us and / or download the relevant information / form from the download box.