April 5, 2022 | 6 minute read

VerpackG (Packaging Act) Requirements Impacting Shops Selling to Germany

Learn more about packaging requirements for shops selling to German buyers.

Avatar image for Etsy Staff by Etsy Staff
Title image for the article

Editor’s note: This article was updated in April 2022 to reflect recent regulatory changes.

On January 1, 2019, Germany’s VerpackG (Packaging Act) came into effect, imposing requirements on online retailers—including Etsy shops selling to buyers in Germany. The Packaging Act promotes recycling and reuse of packaging materials (e.g. cardboard boxes, tape, and bubble wrap). Recent updates to the Packaging Act include new requirements impacting online marketplaces like Etsy, as well as some Etsy sellers. The new regulations take effect July 1, 2022. As these updates may impact your shop, we’ve outlined the new requirements and important steps to take if you plan to continue selling to buyers in Germany.

Friendly disclaimer: This information provides an overview for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. It is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. The author and Etsy, Inc. and Etsy Ireland UC disclaims all responsibility for any and all losses, damages, or causes of action that may arise or be connected with the use of these materials. Please consult a licensed attorney in your area for legal assistance.

Who and what does the Packaging Act apply to on Etsy?

The Packaging Act impacts domestic and international Etsy shops selling to buyers in Germany.

It applies to all packaging that typically results in waste after use, including materials used to package individual products (e.g. hang tags, cellophane bags, boxes) and materials used for shipping (e.g. mailing envelopes, boxes). Examples of packaging materials that qualify include cardboard, glass, aluminum, plastic, natural materials, cardboard composite materials, and more.

Under the Packaging Act, these materials are considered as a “placement” of new packaging into commercial circulation on the German market for the first time, and must be accounted for in the LUCID Packaging Register, run by the Central Agency Packaging Register (ZSVR).

Sellers based in Germany are only subject to this obligation if they didn’t purchase the packaging through a Dual System partner. Special rules may also apply for reusable packaging, if it is returned and reused under an incentive/deposit system. While any additional rule can add complexity, there are just three main steps for most Etsy sellers who wish to sell to Germany buyers, including (a) registering with LUCID, (b) selecting a Dual System provider, and (c) providing key information to your buyers about return and recycling information.

What are the requirements if I sell to buyers in Germany?

  • Register with LUCID. As an online retailer, sellers are required to register with the LUCID Packaging Register. You must register before sending any products to the German market. Even if you receive a single order from a buyer in Germany, you are required to register with LUCID and report it. It’s important to register as soon as possible, before July 1, 2022.
  • Update your buyers of return and recycling options. The Packaging Act also requires sellers to provide information to buyers about return and recycling options. You can communicate this information to buyers using your shop policies, Message to Buyers, or a terms and conditions document. Visit LUCID for additional information on this requirement, or reach out to a local legal expert.
  • Add your LUCID identification number to your Etsy shop. After you register in LUCID, you will receive a unique identification number, which must be provided to Etsy in your Shop Manager. To add this information for your shop, visit Shop Manager > Finances > Legal and tax information and click on the Add LUCID ID number button under the Government registration section.

    What happens if I don’t register with LUCID?

Online retailers failing to comply may be subject to written warning letters or heavy fines (up to €200,000 and a prohibition in sales). Registration is free, and every entity considered a “manufacturer” of packaging (including domestic and international Etsy shops) must register individually. Visit LUCID for additional information and to register.

While LUCID registration is one of the primary Packaging Act requirements, there are additional existing requirements you should be aware of:

Participation in a Dual System: A Dual System partner is a company to which you pay the licensing fee for your materials. In return, they take care of the collection and recovery of packaging after use.

Using a Dual System partner involves filing your packaging registration and reporting annually on the mass (total weight) of the packaging you place on the market and the type of material used. It’s important to choose a system with legal compliance in order to meet all the packaging requirements. The same quantities reported to the system must also be reported at least yearly via LUCID to the Central Agency.

Declaration of Completeness: Depending on the quantities of packaging you put into circulation, there is an additional requirement to submit an annual declaration of completeness. You have to comply with this requirement only if you put into circulation more than 80 tons of mandatory-participation packaging made of glass, more than 50 tons of paper, board or cardboard or more than 30 tons of a different material.

How do I check if I’m in compliance with the Packaging Act?

New compliance procedures can be complicated. We encourage you to visit the Central Packaging Register Office website for additional information and resources. You can direct written requests related to the Packaging Act to anfrage@verpackungsregister.org. Consider reaching out to a legal expert with questions about how these requirements may relate to your shop, and how to comply. While Etsy cannot provide recommendations, there may also be vendors who specialize in assisting small businesses through this process in Germany and other European countries.

What is required by Etsy under the amended Packaging Act?

Based on the Packaging Act amendments coming into effect July 1, 2022, online marketplaces, including Etsy, are required to verify that sellers have a valid LUCID registration and (if applicable) are participating in a Dual System prior to any sales transactions being made to the German market.

As a result, there may be additional changes in your ability to sell to buyers in Germany. We will keep you updated prior to any of these changes being in effect.

Avatar image for Etsy Staff Words by Etsy Staff

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