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Packaging license for small quantities: What is important?

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Do you own a small online store? Or a pizzeria or bakery through which you circulate service packaging? Then the Packaging Act applies to your business and your packaging is subject to licensing.

Small and micro quantities: What does licensing obligation mean?

Packaging subject to licensing is packaging that accumulates as waste after use by consumers and is collected via the dual disposal system. This includes, for example, shipping cartons, food cans and cold cuts packaging, but also jam jars, toothpaste tubes and outer packaging.

In order to comply with the licensing obligation, a company that puts such packaging into circulation participates in a dual system. Through this so-called packaging licensing, the company transfers its responsibility for the proper disposal of the waste to a dual system. The dual system takes over the collection, sorting and disposal or recycling of the packaging materials.

In addition to participating in a dual system, companies must also be registered with the Central Packaging Register (ZSVR). This acts as a control authority for compliance with the legal obligations. Without registration with the ZSVR and proper packaging licensing in accordance with the Packaging Act (VerpackG), a company may not distribute packaged goods in Germany.

Why do even small quantities require packaging licensing?

Suppose your company were to ship only one shipping carton per year. This shipping carton, like all other packaging, would need to be properly disposed of or recycled after use. This disposal requires both the placement of a paper garbage can and collection of the waste by a waste management company, as well as sorting the waste at a sorting facility and recycling it at a reprocessing facility.

This process is funded through packaging licensing. By fulfilling the licensing obligation (also system participation obligation), your company thus fulfills its obligation to collect and dispose of the shipping carton.

For this reason, even the smallest quantities of packaging material fall under the system participation obligation. This ensures that all waste generated is collected.


There are some special regulations in the area of service packaging. Service packaging is generally defined as packaging that is not filled with goods until it is handed over to the customer: Bread roll bags, pizza boxes, menu boxes, carrier bags and so on.

Restaurants and snack bars are usually the distributors of service packaging, but they can transfer their licensing obligation to the supplier of their service packaging. The latter must then carry out the packaging licensing and the restaurant or snack bar can purchase the already licensed service packaging.

There is a significant innovation in the Packaging Act here, which will come into force from July 2022: even if a restaurateur has his service packaging licensed via his supplier, he himself must be registered with the Central Packaging Register Office. There, he can state that he already purchases licensed packaging.

It is advisable to obtain proof of the licensed service packaging. In case of doubt, this can be presented to the ZSVR. Restaurateurs and online retailers who wish to license their service packaging themselves can do so conveniently online via zmart at the dual system Zentek.

Carrying out packaging licensing for small and very small quantities online

Even before you license your packaging, remember to register with the Central Packaging Register. Once this has been completed, you can carry out the licensing.

Especially for small businesses and distributors of small quantities, packaging licensing is time-consuming, which is lacking elsewhere. To save as much time as possible here, zmart offers a digital solution. Carry out the packaging licensing for your small quantities online, effectively saving you time and allowing you to get back to your core business faster.

Using the online calculator, you can easily enter your quantities and the year for which you want to license packaging. Your price will be calculated automatically. As with a classic online store, you can then pay directly online or complete your licensing with purchase on account.

Following the packaging licensing, you finally report the identical quantities of packaging material to the ZSVR. There you now also specify the dual system with which you have carried out the licensing.


Especially if you only circulate small and very small quantities of packaging material, licensing via an online tool is worthwhile. You can complete the entire process in just a few minutes. What other key benefits does zmart offer?

  • You save a considerable amount of time.
  • You can dispense with tedious paperwork.
  • You receive all documents conveniently by e-mail.
  • You don't need to make any phone calls, but can complete the entire process online. If you have any questions, our customer service is, of course, at your disposal.
  • You don't have to wait for a quote, but can calculate your prices yourself.
    Overall, you have very little administrative work. This saves time and nerves.
  • You can license your small quantities in a legally secure manner and have thus fulfilled your system participation obligation.


In day-to-day business, there is often not much time to take care of legal obligations. One of these is the system participation obligation that distributors of packaging must fulfill. They fulfill this obligation through packaging licensing and thus enable the proper disposal of packaging waste by the dual systems.

Small companies that only circulate a small amount of packaging material are also subject to the system participation obligation. Here, it is a matter of micro and small quantities that also have to be licensed. If you want to fulfill the system participation obligation for your small quantities conveniently and legally securely between your daily business, licensing via an online tool is worthwhile.

You save considerable time, administrative effort and annoying paperwork. You can enter your quantities via zmart and get the price for the packaging licensing calculated directly. You then complete the licensing via online payment method or invoice.