Single-Use Plastics Fund Act (EWKFondsG)

The Single-Use Plastics Fund Act (EWKFondsG) came into force on May 11, 2023. This creates a fund administered by the Federal Environment Agency for the financing of cleaning measures, which is intended to regulate the compensation between polluters (here: manufacturers of single-use plastic products) and waste collectors (here: the örE or the commissioned third party).
As of 01.01.2024, manufacturers within the meaning of the Act must register with the Federal Environment Agency who place the following single-use plastics on the market for the first time on a commercial basis:

1. food containers, that is, containers, such as boxes with or without lids, for food that is
a) are intended to be consumed immediately, either on site or as a take-out meal,
b) are normally consumed from the container; and
c) can be consumed without further preparation such as cooking, boiling, or heating;
For this purpose, food containers do not include beverage containers, beverage cups, plates, and bags and film packaging, such as wrappers, containing food;
2. bags and film packaging, such as wrappers, made of flexible material, with food contents that are
a) is intended to be consumed directly from the bag or film wrapper; and
b) does not require further preparation;
3. beverage containers with a filling volume of up to 3 liters, i.e., containers used to hold liquids, such as beverage bottles with and without containers and composite beverage containers, including their closures and lids; beverage containers made of glass or metal with closures, lids, labels, stickers or wrappings made of plastic are not beverage containers in this sense;
4. beverage cups, including their closures and lids;
5. lightweight plastic carrier bags, meaning plastic carrier bags with a wall thickness of less than 50 micrometers, with or without a handle, offered to consumers at the point of sale of the goods or products;
6. wet wipes, that is, soaked wipes for personal and household care;
7. balloons; except balloons for industrial or commercial use and applications not supplied to consumers;
8. tobacco products with filters and filters intended for use in combination with tobacco products.

The list can be found in Annex 1 to the Act. According to § 12, the obligation to pay the deposit is directed at all manufacturers, including those whose beverage containers are subject to the deposit. The reimbursement of costs is based on their expenditure, which is shown in Annex 2 to the Act.

Manufacturers who do not commence their activities until 01.01.2024 are obliged to register with the Federal Environment Agency on this date. Manufacturers whose activities commenced before 01.01.2024 may register until 31.12.2024, i.e. they do not have to be registered by 01.01.2024. However, the quantities to be deposited apply to the entire year 2024.

By May 15 of the year following the year in which the product was placed on the market, the manufacturers concerned must have themselves verified by an expert, auditor, tax advisor or certified accountant registered with the Central Packaging Register and deposit the report of the quantities placed on the market with an electronic signature at the Federal Environment Agency. The verification is not required for manufacturers who have placed only filled beverage bottles or less than 100 kg of single-use plastic products on the market. However, the obligation to register also applies to these manufacturers.

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