Requirements from the German Packaging Ordinance on Foreign Companies, supplying Goods to Germany
Key terms “Sales packaging” and “Private end consumer”
The Packaging Ordinance (abbreviated in German as VerpackV) contains take-back and recycling obligations for all types of packaging which are declared as transport, secondary packaging and sales packaging. Sales packaging is, by definition, all such packaging which is first unpacked and disposed of by the user of the packaged product and not already emptied at upstream trade levels.
Sales packaging for private end consumers (business to consumer; b2c)
For b2c sales packaging (§ 6 VerpackV) exists the obligation of participation in an officially recognised dual disposal system (or a branch solution, see under Point 7).
This requirement aims explicitly at the organisation putting for the first time the packaged goods on the market because § 6 initiates with the words: “Manufacturers and distributors, who put sales packaging filled with goods, that typically produce waste at the private end consumer, on the market …”.
Transport, secondary packaging and sales packaging for commercial end consumers (business to business; b2b)
For transport packaging (§ 4 VerpackV), secondary packaging (§ 5 VerpackV) and sales packaging which, with (larger) commercial end consumers, produces waste (§ 7 VerpackV), it needs to be emphasised that for them the participation in a “recognised dual disposal system” is not possible and is also not necessary. Take-back and recycling of this packaging are to be organised rather by the participants themselves. With this, there are only in one case special documentation obligations (see Point 10) and no recycling quantities to be observed.
Product users both in the private and in the commercial sector
A frequent case in practice is that the organisation first putting the packaged goods on the market has possibly to reckon with his goods ultimately being used partly by b2c consumers and partly by b2b consumers. If for example his products are used by handicraft enterprises of different sizes, a part of these consumers are classified as “private” and a part as “commercial”.
Overview of the officially recognised dual disposal systems
Besides the “Dualen System Deutschland GmbH (DSD)”, which is well-known through its trademark Green Dot, there are in the meanwhile eight further dual systems officially recognised in all 16 German Federal States. They are listed with their contact data in Annexe 1 to this advisory leaflet as well as on the Internet page "Register der Vollständigkeitserklärungen (VE-Register)".
Labelling obligation, e. g. “Green Dot”, is dispensed with
Since 01 January 2009, the previous obligation to label b2c packaging in Germany with the “Green Dot” or a symbol of another dual disposal system no longer exists. Nevertheless, whoever wishes to use the symbol of the Green Dot can, for this, negotiate a separate licence agreement with the DSD GmbH (even if he/she is not a customer of DSD but takes part in another dual disposal system).
Two exemptions with regard to the obligation to participate in a system for b2c sales packaging
According to § 6 Abs. (1) VerpackV b2c sales packaging can also be taken back and recycled by itself. Provided that, with this, the requirements of Appendix 1 of the Ordinance (above all the required recycling quotas) can be verifiably observed, there exists for packaging, which was previously compulsorily registered with a dual disposal system, a right to the repayment of the system participation fees.
Special provisions for certain packaging
Separate treatments are contained in the Packaging Ordinance for reusable packaging as well as for disposable drinks packaging subject to a deposit (§ 9 VerpackV) and for the packaging of filling commodities containing contaminants (§ 8 VerpackV), whereby this term is defined in more detail in the Packaging Ordinance.
Supply of goods to Germany with regard to the obligations of the “first organisation putting the packaged goods on the market”
If a foreign company supplies packaged goods to Germany, it needs to be clarified who, as “first organisation putting packaged goods on the market”, has to meet the various requirements of the German Packaging Ordinance. This is not clearly described in the Ordinance, for which reason, alternatively, the question of which organisation is the owner of the goods at the moment these packaged goods cross the border can be drawn on as criterion:
- If the change in ownership from the German point of view takes place abroad, then the German consignee is the “first organisation putting the packaged products on the market” in Germany.
- If, on the other hand, the change of ownership takes place first of all in Germany, e. g. through a delivery of goods “free house”, for which the foreign seller organises the transport and, if required, takes care of the customs formalities, then the foreign seller becomes the first organisation putting the packaged products on the market in Germany, because he/she operates on German soil, that is within the geographical limits of the German Ordinance and the handover of the goods takes place in Germany. Thus he/she must also fulfil the obligations of the first organisation to market the goods. The same applies for foreign companies who, through direct marketing (e. g. Internet trading) send goods directly to private end consumers in Germany.
Obligation to submit a “completeness statement” with the exceeding of certain volume thresholds
Whoever first markets goods in b2c sales packaging must, in accordance with § 6 VerpackV, verify annually by 01 May at the latest whether he/she has to submit a so-called “completeness statement” (CS; in German: Vollständigkeitserklärung, VE) for the previous calendar year. However, this applies only with the exceeding of at least one of the following volume thresholds:
- more than 80 tonnes per year of glass packaging or
- more than 50 tonnes per year of paper/cardboard/carton packaging or
- more than 30 tonnes per year of packing made from aluminium, tin foil, plastics and composites (sum of these four materials).
- the quantities of b2c and b2b sales packaging put into circulation, differentiated according to packaging material
- breakdown of the b2c packaging to the recognised dual disposal systems
- material type and quantities in branch solutions (§ 6 Para. (2) VerpackV) as well as the name of the person responsible for the branch solution
- brief general details on the recycling of the b2b sales packaging
- details on the external examiner and the date of the examination
The procedure for the submission of the completeness statements is described in detail in Annexe 2.
Foreign companies can also contact the respective chamber of foreign trade (CFT) [in German = AHK] which can be found via http://ahk.de/.
Summary of the officially accredited [German] dual disposal systems for sales packaging in accordance with § 6 VerpackV in alphabetic order
Telephone: +49 (0)9241 4832-0
Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH
Telephone: +49 (0)2203 937-0
Telephone: +49 (0)2161 24763-30
INTERSEROH Dienstleistungs GmbH
Telephone: +49 (0)2203 9147-0
Landbell AG für Rückhol-Systeme
Telephone: +49 (0)6131 235652-0
Redual GmbH & Co. KG
Telephone: +49 (0)2772 580098-441
Veolia Umweltservice Dual GmbH
Telephone: +49 (0)2133 88500-60
Telephone: +49 (0)2234 9587-0
Zentek GmbH & Co. KG
Telephone: +49 (0) 2203 8987-555
Instructions for the lodging of the completeness statement (CS)
1. Determination of the CS data for the reporting year
The quantity of the sales packaging marketed by you in the preceding year needs to be declared.
2. Agreement of the determined data with the examiner
Please note that the examiner has to confirm (to audit) the accuracy of your data for the respective reporting year in his audit report without objections.
3. First-time registration in the CS register (register company)
Please take particular note of your value added tax identification number (VAT Ident. No.). It is important that you use the same VAT Ident. No. in the CS register and for the conclusion of the contract with the dual systems. The VAT Ident No. is no longer modifiable after finalisation of the first registration!
The registration is required once only. With the exception of the VAT Ident. No. the company data can be modified at a later date via the basic data mask in the company module.
4. Registration in the system (Login)
After having registered successfully you can log on yourself using the access data communicated by your E-mail and assign a password for your access account (Login).
5. Input of the CS data
The details of quantities are stated in kilograms (not in tonnes).
6. Generation and download of the verification certificate with details from the completeness statement (CS pdf)
Only after storage of the packaging data the packaging data pdf file (verification certificate with details from the completeness statement) can be generated from the database.
7. Communication of the CS pdf file to the examiner
Please note that the CS pdf file is communicated without delay and securely to the examiner selected by you. You are free to choose the type of communication of the CS pdf file, it must, however, be effected as a file.
8. Qualified electronic signing of the CS pdf file by the examiner
The auditing is effected as the examiner – after comparison of the details with his/her examination documents – electronically signs the CS pdf file received (comp. the supplementary information on the following pages). With this he/she can accept and sign the complete CS pdf file only. Thus he/she can neither limit him/herself to parts [of the file] nor carry out modifications.
9. Lodging of the signed CS pdf file in the CS register - and with the responsible CCI
After having received the CS pdf file or the signature file you must again log into the CS register in order to be able to upload the signed CS pdf file or signature file into the system.
Supplementary information for the examiner
Which signature configuration is required and where can it be obtained?
The required signature configuration is made up of three components:
1. An individual signature chip card of a trust centre conforming with signature law. The card is not transferable and must be applied for personally or per post identity procedure [in Germany “Post-Ident-Verfahren”]. Providers [in Germany] are, for example, D-TRUST, S-TRUST, Signtrust, TC Trustcenter, Telesec.
2. A chip card reader with own keyboard and PC-SC or CT-API interface. Suitable products are, for example, Reiner SCT cyberJack Pinpad, Reiner SCT cyberJack e-com, SCM Chipdrive Pinpad, Kobil KAAN advanced, Kobil KAAN professional.
3. Software for qualified signing of files in accordance with PKCS#7 standard. Suitable products are, for example, SecCommerce SecSigner 2.0.0, OPENLiMiT CC Sign Basiskomponente 2.1. or digiSeal Office Pro 2.5.0
A list of all signature law conform trust centres, card readers and signature application components is published on the website of the German Federal Network Agency (http://www.bundesnetzagentur.de).
How is the CS verification certificate signed?
Prerequisite is that a signature software is installed which enables pdf documents to be signed in PKCS#-7 format. For this there is a series of standard solutions which can be obtained free on the market.
How to avoid errors:
The most important rule for the employment of the qualified electronic signature is: the file to be signed may not be modified.
Do not undertake any modifications, do not attach any files!
The CS register accepts exclusively an unmodified pdf document with a valid electronic signature in PKCS#7 format.
Do not sign the verification certificate more than once!
The CS verification certificate, according to § 10 Para. 1 VerpackV, has to be signed electronically by one examiner only. The written verification certificate on the basis of which the input of the CS data takes place can, on the other hand, be signed by several persons. The verification certificate does not, however, belong to the completeness statement.
Do not encode your signature!
Possibly an option for the encoding of the signature content appears in the signing program. A file signed in this way cannot be read by the CS register as the appropriate decoding code is missing. Therefore the encoding option in the signing software must be deactivated.
Do not use the Acrobat function “Document” /“Sign”!
In addition to the PKCS#7 standard format there are also further possibilities for signing documents electronically. For example, the signature elements can be filed directly in the pdf document via the function in Adobe Acrobat. These files cannot be read by the CCI CS register and are therefore to be rejected with appropriate return information.
Further technical information
Despite observing these instructions error messages can appear in individual cases with the uploading of the signature file into the CS register. Information on such application-specific and technical questions can be found under "Register der Vollständigkeitserklärungen (VE-Register)". If, nevertheless, problems occur the CCI partners are ready to provide assistance.
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