Online retailers selling into Germany face certain packaging requirements as a result of packaging laws. Learn more about the rules below.
Since 2019, Germany’s VerpackG (Packaging Act) imposed obligations on online retailers, including Depop sellers who sell to buyers in Germany. With this regulation, the German government primarily intends to promote recycling and re-use of packaging materials (e.g. cardboard boxes, tape and bubble wrap). As this may impact Depop sellers, we’ve listed below what the requirements entail and outlined immediate steps you may wish to take.
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. Depop Limited disclaim 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 lawyer in your area for legal assistance.
Who does the new law apply to on Depop?
The Packaging Act impacts domestic and international Depop 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. tags, cellophane bags) and materials used for delivery (e.g. mailing envelopes, boxes). Examples of packaging materials that qualify include cardboard, glass, aluminium, 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 Depop 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 1st July 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, or your shop bio. Visit LUCID for additional information on this requirement, or reach out to a local legal expert.
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 Depop 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 licencing 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 tonnes of mandatory-participation packaging made of glass, more than 50 tonnes of paper, board or cardboard or more than 30 tonnes 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Consider reaching out to a legal expert with questions about how these requirements may relate to your shop, and how to comply. While Depop cannot provide recommendations, there may also be vendors who specialise in assisting small businesses through this process in Germany and other European countries.
What is required by Depop under the amended Packaging Act?
Based on the Packaging Act amendments coming into effect on 1st July 2022, online marketplaces, including Depop, 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.