For an answer to the question, please see the following excerpt from our FAQ page.
Service packaging is packaging that is not filled with goods until it reaches the final distributor where it is handed over to the final consumer, e.g. sandwich bags at the bakery, takeaway containers at fast food restaurants, carrier bags, takeaway coffee cups.
Further examples include:
- cups for hot beverages, including lids;
- cups for cold beverages;
- vending machine cups;
- cups for ice cream, milk shakes, spirits, etc.;
- containers and cups for foodstuffs, e.g. soups, smoothies, cereals, popcorn, etc.;
- plates and bowls for soups, combination plates, etc.;
- salad containers, combination meal containers, with or without lids;
- trays and bowls, e.g. for cakes, sausages, salads, chips, etc.;
- combination meal and snack boxes, e.g. lunch boxes, noodle boxes, pizza boxes;
- bags, wrapping, sheets, conical bags, e.g. sandwich bags, thermal bags, wraps, chip bags, etc.;
- produce roll bags, bags, conical bags and wrappings given out in the course of fruit and vegetable retail – in direct sales, weekly markets or in the fruit and vegetable areas of grocery stores;
- bags, sheets, wrappings given out at fresh food counters in stores, artisanal food production businesses or fine food retailers;
- carrier bags of all kinds;
- wrappings and bags given out by laundrettes and dry cleaners;
- netting, flower wrapping, flower foils, wrappings given out by florists, gardening centres or given out with Christmas trees;
- other packaging, including cake doilies, cake toppers, manchettes, carriers, etc.
No. Filling will also be considered to have taken place on the premises of the final distributor if the packaging was not filled directly at the point of sale, but in the nearby vicinity, e.g. in a separate production or work room adjacent to the sales area. The criterion of 'nearby vicinity' is fulfilled if the filling and handing over to the final consumer takes place at the same premises of the final distributor, or up to a few hundred metres from there. It is generally not fulfilled if the filled packaging was transported on a public road between the point of filling and the point of sale / point of handing over to the final consumer. As an example: where packaging is filled centrally and then transported to various branches, 'nearby vicinity' no longer applies. That is to say, the packaging is not classed as service packaging.
Further information about the 'nearby vicinity' criterion can be found in the following informational booklet. FAQ: on 'nearby vicinity' as applies to service packaging
No. Packaging filling may also occur prior to the actual handover to a final consumer. Usually, however, the packaging will be filled at the same time that it is placed onto the German market (handover to the final consumer).
A special provision applies to final distributors of service packaging: they can buy 'pre-participated' unfilled service packaging from a supplier or wholesaler. In this situation, the supplier or wholesaler has already paid for the packaging's recycling. That is called 'pre-participation'. This option is only available for service packaging. Final distributors placing exclusively service packaging on the German market and buying only pre-participated packaging have to register with the LUCID Packaging Register starting 1 July 2022. They will need to confirm the pre-participated nature of the purchase during the registration process. To do so, they have to check the box that says 'Exclusively pre-participated service packaging' when providing details on their packaging types. (Refer to 'What is service packaging?'). Further information can be found in our 'Service packaging' knowledge base.
Final distributors can request that one of the upstream distributors that delivered the unfilled service packaging to them participate this packaging with a dual system. In this situation, the final distributor should make sure that an upstream distributor has indeed fully complied with the system participation requirement. The supplier/wholesaler is required to provide that confirmation. It should also be noted that the final distributor's system participation requirement for other service, retail or grouped packaging remains unaffected.
Final distributors can also, however, fulfil all of their packaging law obligations themselves: registering with the LUCID Packaging Register, concluding a system participation agreement, submitting data reports on packaging volumes to their chosen system(s) and the LUCID Packaging Register.
Ideally, system participation should be documented by the upstream distributor on the invoice / delivery note so that the final distributor always has comprehensive compliance documentation. Alternatively, the final distributor needs another form of appropriate documentation to provide evidence that the upstream distributor has participated the purchased service packaging with a system, in full.
No, that is not possible. The possibility to pass on the system participation requirement serves to reduce the burden especially for small and medium-sized artisanal food production businesses. In the case of service packaging, they are able to shift the system participation requirement and require an upstream distributor (e.g. the supplier of such packaging) to undertake system participation. However, that party in turn does not have a right to shift the requirement onward. Rather, the upstream distributor assumes the responsibilities of the 'producer' not only in terms of system participation, but also with regard to registration and volume reporting to the Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister (Central Agency Packaging Register – ZSVR).