New packaging law approved in Germany

A new packaging law has been passed in Germany in a bid to improve recycling and prevent packaging waste.

The Packaging Act, which has now been approved by the Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, will come into force on 1 January 2019. Introduced to increase the recycling of waste from private households and encourage manufacturers to use recyclable packaging, the changes include higher recovery targets for packaging materials.

Plastic packaging targets will rise to 63 per cent and metal, glass and paper will increase to 90 per cent by 2022.

Incentives to increase reusable beverage packaging

The new law will also introduce incentives for packaging producers to incorporate recyclability considerations into their packaging design, and to use recycled or renewable materials.

Reusable packaging will be promoted with the aim of reaching a target of 70 per cent reusable beverage packaging. The Act obliges retailers to clearly mark store shelves, highlighting whether beverage packaging is reusable or disposable and helping consumers to make more conscious buying decisions.

The law provides for the establishment of a central office to co-ordinate dual systems, and to handle registration of the obligated producers and distributors. Local municipalities will, however, be responsible for determining how to carry out collection of the recycled and bioplastic packaging and how it is to be measured. In addition, it will be up to individual municipalities whether they collect additional plastic and metal waste together with the existing dual-collection system.

Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said the new packaging law is an important step in the further development of the circular economy. She said: "The packaging legislation is an important step in furthering the development of the recycling industry. I am relieved that we have succeeded in finding a viable compromise, which takes due account of various interests, and which is particularly beneficial to the environment."

The new German law can be read in full (in German) on the Bundestag’s website.

Packaging compliance in the UK

Companies who handle packaging in the UK are subject to the Packaging Regulations. We work with these businesses, helping them to reduce their impact on the environment and ensuring they comply with current regulations. Contact our team on 0845 129 7177 to find out how we can help your business comply for less.

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