Revision of German packaging law

December 15th, 2020

The German government has published a draft amendment of the country’s packaging law which aims to implement certain requirements of the European Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive and Article 8a of the revised Waste Framework Directive, and to update other provisions of the law. The draft still has to be approved by both the government and parliament.

The requirements of the SUP Directive are implemented almost exactly. From 2025, for example, certain disposable plastic drinks bottles must have a minimum recyclate content of 25%. However, Germany plans to expand the already existing deposit return scheme for certain single-use plastic beverage bottles and cans to all bottles and cans regardless of the drink they contain.

In order to improve enforcement of the extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations set out in the packaging law, online marketplaces and fulfilment service providers will have to ensure that retailers are registered with a packaging scheme. In addition, manufacturers based outside of Germany will also be able to appoint an authorised representative.

Moreover, the draft clearly aims to clarify that composite packaging will continue to be allocated to the corresponding main material type. An amendment to the law which came into force at the beginning of October 2020 initially introduced a different definition of composite packaging (see article).

In parallel, the European Commission is also working on a new legal framework for packaging. The planned revision of the Packaging Directive focuses on waste prevention and updated packaging design requirements also ensuring that, by 2030, all packaging is reusable or recyclable in an economically viable manner as envisioned in the EU’s plastics strategy.

The Commission has recently launched a public consultation on the subject, which will run until 6 January 2021 (see article).

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