EWKFondsG: New levy on single-use plastic products in Germany

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The Single-Use Plastic Fund Act (EWKFondsG) is a new law that imposes more obligations on manufacturers and importers of single-use plastic products in Germany to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics and reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste.


Single-use plastic fund law entered into force

On March 02, 2023, the German Bundestag passed the Single-Use Plastic Fund Act (EWKFondsG), which transposes Article 8(1) to (7) of Directive (EU) 2019/904 (EU Single-Use Plastics Directive) into German law. After the German Bundesrat approved the EWKFondsG on March 31, 2023, the final version of the law was published in the Federal Law Gazette on May 15, 2023.

The EWKFondsG introduces a levy on certain disposable products containing plastic. A fund will be set up into which the manufacturers concerned will have to pay a levy. The German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) is responsible for administering the fund. Manufacturers will have to pay the levy for the first time on May 5, 2025, based on the volume of certain single-use plastic products placed on the market in the calendar year 2024.

From January 1 until the end of 2024, the manufacturers and importers concerned are required to register on the digital platform DIVID, also managed by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA).


More obligations for manufacturers as of 01 January 2024

The Single-Use Plastic Fund is intended to help finance measures to prevent and dispose single-use plastics. Such measures may include the promotion of recycling infrastructure, developing more environmentally friendly alternatives to single-use plastics, and educating the public about the impact of plastic waste on the environment.

One of the most important obligations, that manufacturers and importers of certain single-use plastic products (food containers, bag and film packaging, beverage containers, beverage cups, lightweight plastic carrier bags, wet wipes, balloons, tobacco products with filters, and fireworks) have, is to reduce the consumption of those same plastics. They need to ensure that their products are more environmentally friendly by relying on reusable alternatives or eliminating single-use plastic products completely.

In the spirit of extended producer responsibility, the new Single-Use Plastic Fund also obliges manufacturers and importers of the product groups mentioned above to contribute to the costs of waste disposal in public spaces such as parks and streets.


Timeline of single-use plastic fund operation

“We welcome the new single-use plastic fund law. However, we are also aware that this new law creates another challenge for producers. Article 8 of the Single-Use Plastic Directive (SUPD) gives European countries enough leeway to implement their own individual laws. Our consultants are very well prepared for the increasing complexity of EPR.”, states Sabrina Goebel, General Manager of RecycleMe.”


Levy rates set by single-use plastic fund ordinance

The concrete amount of the levy rates for manufacturers as well as the payment system to municipalities and other beneficiaries will be determined by the associated Single-Use Plastic Fund Ordinance (EWKFondsV), which is to be enacted by December 31, 2023, in accordance with the Single-Use Plastics Fund Act. By means of a legally anchored evaluation, an additional review is to be carried out to determine whether the fund should also be extended to other single-use products made of other materials. The amount of the single-use plastic levy to be paid by manufacturers is estimated at up to 434 million euros per year.

The following levy rates in euros per kilogram apply to the single-use plastic levy under Section 12 of the Single-Use Plastic Fund Act:

  • Food containers 0.177
  • Bag and film packaging 0.871
  • Non-packaged beverage containers 0.180
  • Beverage containers with deposit 0.001
  • Beverage cups 1,231
  • Lightweight plastic carrier bags 3.790
  • Wet wipes 0.060
  • Balloons 4.338
  • Tobacco products with filters and filters for tobacco products 8.945

However, the above levy rates are subject to change at any time, as the regulation is currently still in the draft stage.


Separate fees for administrative tasks of the Federal Environment Agency

Part of the new administrative tasks of the UBA associated with the EWKFondsG is to be additionally financed by separate fees so that the Single-Use Plastic Fund is not further burdened. For this reason, the Special Fees Ordinance of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) includes the EWKFondsG in its scope of application and defines ten new fee categories in this context.


Use the monitoring service of RecycleMe and be informed at an early stage

The information on levy rates and payment systems from the German Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) has not yet been finalized and may still change with the final version of the EWKFondsV by 12/31/2013. Fines for non-compliance with the levy obligations under Section 26 of the EWKFondsG fine regulations have already been regulated.

We will offer a webinar in the last quarter of 2023, in which our experts will cover the EWKFondsG and the new applicable fees for manufacturers and importers in detail.


Get on the waiting list for the EWKFondsG webinar now.

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