Putting on the market and recycling of packaging material in the EU (PACK) and Germany (“Verpackungsverordnung” / “Wertstoffgesetz”).


The European Packaging Directive (PACK)

The Packaging Directive [Packaging and Packaging Waste, PACK] is one of the oldest European environmental rules which has already been in effect in the EEC. It addresses the putting on the market of packaging material as well as the take-back and recycling of waste packaging. European wide harmonization was the goal of several amendments over the past years. While existing national legislation is usually updated or amended in older member states, new laws and ordinances have been created in the younger accession countries.

Die Verpackungsverordnung

Although the German Packaging Ordinance already exists since 1998, it has since been updated by several amendments. The largest part of the current 5th release of the “Verpackungsverordnung” went into force beginning of 2009. One of the key tasks for producers under this ordinance are the exemption from the take-back obligation for sales packaging, different reporting tasks, and maybe also the licensing of a recycling logo. Following the 5th amendment of the German Packaging Ordinance, the quasi-monopoly of the “Duales System Deutschland GmbH) (DSD: “Der gruene Punkt”) that existed until the end of 2008 was displaced by an oligopoly of officially certified “Dual Systems”.

The new “Wertstoffgesetz”

The German Packaging Ordinance is to be replaced by a new “resource act” (“Wertstoffgesetz”) soon. The recast follows the idea of not only recovering and recycling waste packaging, but also valuable resource material, to provide environmentally sound treatment. The “resource bin” (“Wertstofftonne”) is going to play an important role in the reformed legislation. It’ll allow consumers to also dispose of resources similar to packaging material as well as small equipment and other materials.