Draft of the third amendment to the German Packaging Act

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Would it be more of an advantage or a disadvantage if the PPWR is not adopted in April 2024 and the cap remains open at least until after the European elections in June? As B+P Consultants, we are asked this question again and again. The short answer: It would be more of a disadvantage because the defragmentation of the European packaging market would continue. Because even if the PPWR does not (or not yet) materialise, political objectives such as “design for recycling” and “prevention of packaging waste” will not fall by the wayside. They will then be implemented by the individual nation states as they see fit.


Amendment of the German Packaging Act

In July 2023, the third amendment to the German Packaging Act was proposed.

We are familiar with certain points in the amendment from the drafts of the PPWR:

  1. Strengthening consumer choice in supermarkets and discounters. In future, sales outlets will have to offer at least one reusable alternative for each of several types of beverages.
  2. Consumers should be able to hand in their reusable bottles wherever drinks are available (from 200 square metres).
  3. The mandatory reusable offer for ToGo food and drinks since 1 January 2023 will be extended to all materials – previously, a reusable alternative only had to be offered for single-use plastic.
  4. Disposable packaging may no longer be used for on-site consumption of burgers, pizza, and similar products.
  5. With regard to “cheat packs”, it is clarified that a reduction in the filling quantity is generally not permitted if the packaging remains the same.

Further work at the national level focusses on:

  • Increasing the recyclability of packaging and thus preparing the further development of Section 21 of the German Packaging Act. This regulates the ecological structure of the fees that packaging manufacturers must pay to the dual systems for waste disposal. Work on the specific legal implementation has not yet been finalised and will continue.
  • Preparations for the inclusion of chemical dismantling processes, such as pyrolysis, in the Packaging Act. The aim is to integrate the new technical processes into the Packaging Act in such a way that they provide real added value for resource recovery in the packaging sector in accordance with European requirements.

Even if a concrete draft for the amendment of Section 21 VerpackG is still a long way off (February 2024), the coalition agreement clearly shows where the journey is heading: an ecological design of the participation fees for packaging with a fund model is coming! Especially as the objectives of the amendment to the German Packaging Act are largely in line with the draft PPWR. This also provides for concrete specifications on the use of recyclates and minimum recyclability.


Example: France

Germany is not the only EU country with further packaging legislation in the pipeline. France in particular – which had to be asked by the EU several times to withdraw certain demands such as the ban on plastic packaging in the fruit and vegetable sector – will very quickly implement its own national tightening measures if the PPWR fails.

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