The Packaging Law: What you need to know

Image: Unsplash/Sigmund

The goal of responsible disposal and recycling of disposable packaging and the participation of manufacturers and retailers has existed in Germany since the early 1990s. Since the new Packaging Act 2019 replaced the old ordinance, however, there have been some changes affecting companies' registration obligations. We have compiled the most important information for you.

The packaging law

The first set of rules that laid down the responsibility of companies for the disposal of the packaging they put into circulation in Germany came into force in 1991 with the Packaging Ordinance (VerpackV). On January 1, 2019, it was replaced by the Packaging Act (VerpackG) . The aim of the new packaging law is packaging disposal on a sustainable and competition-neutral basis. Some obligations and definitions were tightened with the Packaging Act and a significant increase in the quotas for mechanical recycling was sought. A central office was also created to increase transparency in licensing.

The Packaging Act and the establishment of the Central Packaging Register (ZSVR) result in some changes and obligations for those who place sales packaging on the market:

  • Personal registration obligation (§9 VerpackG)
  • Personal data reporting obligation (§10 VerpackG)
  • Gradual increase in take-back rates

You can download the Packaging Act here.

The packaging register – ZSVR

One of the most important innovations within the scope of the Packaging Act is the introduction of the Central Packaging Register Office - ZSVR. In addition to the licensing of the packaging in a dual system, according to the Packaging Act, both the registration and the data reporting must now take place via the LUCID register.

The central registration office and supervisory authority with the associated LUCID database is publicly accessible, so that the data of the registered companies that place sales packaging on the market is now transparent and can be checked. Another task of the Central Packaging Register (ZSVR) is the monitoring of ecological goals, such as the fulfillment of recycling quotas and the financial support of more sustainable packaging.

Who do the regulations apply to?

The reliable return, sorting and recycling of the packaging is organized with the help of the license fees paid. The principle of extended product responsibility ensures that companies that fill packaging with goods and put them into circulation are also responsible for taking them back and recycling them. The VerpackG therefore applies to all manufacturers and retailers who place packaging filled with goods and end consumers on the market. The licensing obligation also applies to online trading. The only exception is the trade and use of packaging material within the B2B area. Trade between companies is expressly exempted from the system participation obligation in the Packaging Act. The decisive factor here, however, is that the packaging remains in retail.

The definition of the private end consumer in the Packaging Act is also important. Because this not only affects private individuals in the colloquial sense, but also refers to  Facilities such as restaurants, hotels, leisure and cultural facilities, etc. Since the packaging used there is also waste and has to be disposed of by end consumers, it must also be licensed via the dual systems.

For which packaging does the system participation obligation apply?

Whether plastic film, cardboard, or natural material: Neither the type of packaging nor the size plays a role - all packaging that typically occurs as waste with the private end consumer and is therefore considered sales packaging must be licensed according to the Packaging Act. According to this, packaging that is subject to system participation must be defined as sales and outer packaging filled with goods and licensed 100 percent - regardless of where it actually occurs.

An innovation in the course of the introduction of the Packaging Act compared to the old ordinance is the obligation to participate in the system for so-called outer packaging. These are now defined differently in the Packaging Act (§ 3 Paragraph 1 No. 2 Packaging Act) and are now to be treated like sales packaging. The total quantities in kilograms that are put into circulation per year must be involved. Licensing must be carried out with a dual system, such as Licenseero or DerGrünePunkt . Both providers provide much more detailed information on the packaging law as well as instructions for licensing and registration. The pages also contain calculation aids for determining the packaging quantities that occur. Licensing can be done through many other providers.

How does licensing work?

If you are the first distributor of sales packaging, i.e. you fill packaging with goods for the first time and place it on the market commercially, you must observe the following three obligations:

1. Registration Requirement

Affected companies must register fully in the LUCID Packaging Register.

2. System participation obligation

By paying a license fee, the companies participate in the professional disposal and recycling of the packaging in a dual system. The amount of the license fee is calculated based on the packaging quantities. The registration number issued in the LUCID packaging register can be viewed on the dashboard and must be specified in the dual system (e.g. at or ).

3. Data Reporting Obligation

After the licensing has been carried out in a dual system, the name of the "dual system" and the licensed packaging quantities must be specified in the LUCID account. The obligation to report data applies continuously and must therefore be carried out regularly at the beginning of the year through the volume report at the end of the year.

Image: Unsplash/Antoine Schibler

Licensing for other EU countries

The German packaging law is based on the specifications of the EU packaging directive. Similar regulations also exist in all other European countries. According to the EU packaging directive, each country has its own specifications within national law. So if you are planning to sell packaged goods abroad, find out about the participation obligations and regulations in the relevant countries. Registration in Germany does not apply there. Licenseero and DerGrünePunkt, among others, offer detailed information and a registration service in other EU countries.


Please note that our products are not pre-licensed either. Therefore, before placing the packaging on the market, find out about the licensing requirements in the country in which you sell your goods.

Related Links

Registration database LUCID:

Orientation and checklists LUCID:

Cost Calculator: