2022 German EPR Regulations for Online Sellers

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EPR

The EPR is a legal requirement that applies to most products sold in Germany. It requires manufacturers and importers to register their products with the relevant authorities, who then issue a unique EPR number. This number must be included on all packaging and labels of the product. If you sell products in Germany, it is important that you understand what this means for your business.

What is the German EPR?

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is an acronym for Extended Producer Responsibility. The underlying premise is that a seller or manufacturer that places packaged items on the market bears responsibility for not just the product itself, but also all packaging and (product) components introduced into circulation and discarded by the end consumer. This encompasses, for example, packaging, electrical appliances, and batteries. As a result, EPR serves as a kind of umbrella term for these three features.

With EPR, the distributor is responsible for the whole life cycle of a product and its components, from conception through disposal.

The main objective of the EPR is to protect the environment and human health by ensuring that packaging waste is collected separately and recycled appropriately. In addition, it aims to reduce the amount of virgin raw materials used, as well as energy consumption during production. The website epr-compliance.com has all the details one needs for full compliance.

All companies that sell products in Germany must ensure that they comply with these regulations. This includes companies that sell through their own websites or those who sell through third-party platforms like Amazon Marketplace or eBay etc.

A brief explanation of German EPR compliance

Packaging

Packaging

Packaging in Germany is regulated by the Verpackungsgesetz, or VerpackG (Packaging Act). The law governs packaging requirements for all products sold in Germany. It also places restrictions on what type of materials can be used for packaging and how much space they can occupy on shelves at retail stores. For example, it stipulates that single-use plastic bags cannot be sold unless they are biodegradable and fully compostable within four weeks after disposal. Also, packaging materials should not contain microplastics or polystyrene beads because these materials cannot be recycled easily

As per VerpackG, sellers who ship to Germany must adhere to the set standards for ALL packaging that they put into circulation on the German market – independent of distribution method and BEFORE the packaging is put into circulation; this implies that not only packaged products sold via a marketplace, but virtually all of them are affected.

The German Packaging Ordinance (Verpackungsverordnung -VVO) regulates how packaging must be designed and produced. The VVO applies to all types of packaging material, including paperboard, glass and plastic containers, metal cans, and collapsible tubes.

Businesses must comply with the regulations on packaging by:

  • using environmentally friendly materials;
  • using sustainable production methods;
  • using recycled materials.

Electronic and electrical devices

The German ElektroG regulates the handling of electrical and electronic equipment in Germany. As a “producer,” you must register electrical equipment with the Foundation for Waste Electrical Equipment Register (EAR). You will obtain your WEEE registration number once you have completed all of the processes. You may submit this number to your marketplace as an EPR registration number.

Foreign vendors should appoint an authorised representative (obligatory for merchants without a registered office in Germany!).

Note: If an electrical appliance has a battery, both the electrical equipment and the batteries must be registered with the EAR.

EPR Registration in Germany:

As an online seller, you must register your company with the German Environment Agency (UBA) before you can sell products in Germany. You must also register for the e-Commerce Act (ETA). This registration process is similar to VAT registration and requires identity verification through a copy of your photo ID, passport, or driving license. For easier processing, contact an organisation like Lizenzero for assistance.