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Since the amendment of the German Packaging Act (VerpackG) on 1 July 2022, there is an obligation to register all types of packaging in Germany. This means that every company who wishes to place packaged goods on the market in Germany is obliged to register them in LUCID, the packaging register of the “Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister – ZSVR”. The following article provides information on the LUCID Packaging Register, what it means for producers, and how businesses can ensure they meet the legal requirements.
But first, we need to explain the term “producer”. According to the German Packaging Act, a producer is the first to place packaging filled with goods on the German market on a commercial basis. This could be either:
- a manufacturer of goods,
- a retail company,
- an importer, or
- a mail order company and e-commerce sellers
For a better understanding we can recommend this graphic from the “Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister – ZSVR”.
What is the “LUCID Packaging Register”?
LUCID – a publicly accessible database – is the packaging register of the “Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister – ZSVR” for the implementation of the Packaging Act. Manufacturers and initial distributors of packaging must register in the LUCID packaging register as soon as they place packaging on the market for the first time on a commercial basis in Germany.
As of July 1, 2022, the obligation to register with LUCID applies irrespective of the respective type of packaging to manufacturers of
- Packaging which is subject to licensing, such as sales packaging (including product and all kinds of packaging that is used for shipping and is disposed of by the end consumers)
- Packaging which is not subject to licensing, such as transport packaging, reusable packaging, deposit-liable disposable beverage packaging, etc.
The LUCID Packaging Register is a platform for companies where data on packaging materials, their use and waste management processes are reported and thus centrally collected. This enables the regulator to gain important insights into the life cycle of packaging – from production to disposal.
What impact does LUCID have on companies that put packaging on the market?
As mentioned before, for businesses operating on the German market, the registration at LUCID is a legal obligation and must be carried out personally by the company itself. The register places several key responsibilities on companies:
- Registration and reporting: Companies are required to register with the LUCID Packaging Register and provide accurate and up-to-date information about the types and quantities of packaging materials they place on the German market.
- Data transparency: Companies must report packaging quantities (assigned to fractions glass, paper, carton, cardboard, tinplate, aluminium, plastics, liquid packaging board, or other composites) and to which brand names they are assigned.
- Non-compliance penalties: Failure to comply with the LUCID Packaging Register can result in significant penalties, including fees and even reputational damage. In addition, a distribution ban is pending here.
It does not matter what type of packaging a company places on the market with its goods and products in Germany. Every company that places packaging on the German market must register with the LUCID Packaging Register and indicate which types of packaging are marketed under which brand names.
How does a company get its LUCID number?
Registration in the LUCID Packaging Register is a quite uncomplicated process. Companies that place packaging on the market create a user account with their master data on the website. Then the specific packaging data is entered, that means as mentioned above the packaging quantities assigned to the individual fractions and supplemented by the brand names. Finally, the data is confirmed, and the registration is forwarded to the “Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister – ZSVR” for verification. As soon as this verification is completed, the company receives the so-called LUCID number and is officially registered in the packaging register. The LUCID number starts with the two letters DE and contains 13 digits (e.g., DE1234567891234). If the company wants to conclude a contract with a dual system, it needs this unique LUCID number.
Foreign companies without a branch in Germany have the option of appointing an authorised representative to fulfil their obligations under packaging law. However, it is not allowed that the authorised representative also carries out the registration of the company with LUCID. This must be done independently by the company, and only then can the authorised representative assume all other obligations. Attention: If no authorised representatives have been appointed, this query can simply be skipped! The dual system with which you are licensed must only be specified in the quantity report.
Regular reporting intervals for each license year must be considered
Companies must submit 3 different reports to LUCID for each license year and meet deadlines. This is only sales packaging:
- Estimate report by 31.12., with the forecast of how much packaging is expected to be placed on the market in the following year.
- Quantity report during the year, which can be corrected at any time.
- Year-end declaration by 15.05. of the following year, with the total packaging amount placed on the market.
Attention for packaging with system participation obligation!
Apart from their LUCID declarations, companies that place packaging subject to licensing on the market must also report to a dual system. The deadlines and intervals to be observed by the respective dual system must be clarified individually.
First, the company must apply for a LUCID number, and only then can a packaging licensing contract be concluded with a dual system, as the LUCID number is required for this contract. Only what is licensed with the dual system must then be reported to LUCID!
Reporting deadlines are strictly regulated, and penalties may apply for non-compliance.
For more information about packaging licensing in Germany please click here.
Why the LUCID Packaging Register is important for a circular economy.
The LUCID Packaging Register is a control instrument of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV). It serves to better control the quantities of packaging placed on the market in Germany. Since both the company and the dual systems must submit regular quantity reports in LUCID and all reports can be clearly assigned by the LUCID number, differences can be easily identified and checked.
Since it is a public register, anyone can inspect it at any time and check whether a company that supposedly puts packaging on the market in Germany is registered with LUCID. LUCID thus ensures more transparency and exerts pressure on manufacturers, producers and other distributors to comply with their obligations under packaging law in a legally compliant manner.