The German Packaging Law will change in 2022. Registration and obligations for shipping packaging subject to the so-called “system participation” will be redistributed for online retailers and fulfillment service providers. We have summarized the most important changes for you.


A new year, a new law. Well, it's not entirely new. But the German Packaging Law will be amended in some important points in 2022. The Packaging Law (VerpackG), which came into force in 2019, is regularly revised to adapt to changing circumstances in the retail sector. The pivotal point of the changes, which will come into force on July 1, 2022, is the so-called "system-participation-relevant shipping packaging."


Registration and participation – here’s how it’s working today


In e-commerce, shipping packaging that is subject to “system participation” refers to cardboard boxes, shipping bags or filling materials that usually end up as packaging waste at the end consumer. The manufacturers or originators of this packaging are obliged to register in the LUCID packaging register and to contribute to the disposal costs of the packaging. They do so via the so-called “dual system”. Of course, the end customer does not notice this, because disposal is already priced in.

Up to now, online retailers have been able to avoid registration by outsourcing fulfillment via a service provider. Only when retailers handle fulfillment and shipping themselves are they considered to be the originator of the packaging and must register according to the Packaging Law. A violation is already punished in the current version of the law. Failure to register can result in fines of up to €100,000, and even up to €200,000 for non-participation. In the case of external fulfillment as Dropshipping , the service provider has so far taken care of the participation according to the law. For dropshipping, everything remains the same. But for retailers with outsourced fulfillment, the rules will change starting next year!


New rules for online retailers and fulfillment service providers


For e-commerce, the rules are changing decisively. From July 1, 2022, retailers will be considered manufacturers/originators of shipping packaging subject to system participation. Regardless of whether they outsource fulfillment. As principals, they must now take care of all manufacturer obligations. The new law specifies:


“...if the activities of a fulfillment service provider include the packaging of goods in shipping packages subject to system participation, the distributor of the goods for whom the fulfillment service provider is acting shall be deemed to be the manufacturer under the first section of paragraph (1) with respect to the shipping packages.”

Packaging Law, §7, section 7

This will also change for fulfillment projects already underway as of July 1, 2022. Retailers who could previously rely on their fulfillment service providers to take care of the registration of their shipping packaging subject to system participation and make the corresponding contribution will now be responsible themselves.


What do fulfillment service providers need to be aware of?


As of July, fulfillment service providers are no longer responsible for manufacturer obligations with regard to packaging subject to system participation. Nevertheless, they will be held responsible with the change in the law. Logistics providers will have an obligation to check their clients from summer 2022. They will only be able to take on services for clients who are properly registered and participate in the dual system. Otherwise, they will have to refuse all services relating to non-registered packaging. According to the Packaging Law, this includes warehousing, picking, addressing and shipping of goods.


What to do now?


Online retailers should take care of a proper registration at an early stage. All further information can be found on the website of the Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister (ZSVR) . Logistics providers should also obtain information at an early stage so that they can fulfill their inspection obligation towards their clients.


Are you looking for a fulfillment provider to help you with your e-commerce?


Warehousing1 is happy to support you in implementing the logistics of your online store. In an initial meeting, we can discuss exactly what your requirements are and how to solve them. Through our network of over 850 warehouse locations, we identify the perfect fulfillment solution for you. By selecting the optimal warehouse locations and processes, you can reduce your fulfillment costs and focus on your core business. Schedule a consultation today.