Extended liability for packaging manufacturers (EPR) in Austria
Since January 1, 2023, Austria has imposed new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) requirements on online platforms and their business partners. Whether manufacturers or primary sellers, those parties are not permitted to use well-known digital marketplaces like Zalando, Joom, Amazon, AliExpress, or eBay to sell their goods.
Objectives and Procedure
Austrian law action highlights the producers’ responsibility in upholding their duties and seeks to assure compliance. Therefore, the producer must be responsible for the recycling of its waste. Producers usually transfer this responsibility to a third-party organization. Usually, these are companies approved by the Government of the country. Of course, these intermediaries receive compensation for their services.
Who do EPR obligations?
- Manufacturers and importers of service packaging in Austria;
- Packers in Austria;
- Importers with regard to the packaging of the goods or goods they import;
- Self-importers with regard to the packaging of goods or goods that are purchased from abroad for the operation of their own company and which are generated as waste within the company;
- Distance sellers of goods intended for Austrian consumers.
Packaging definition in Austria
Packaging means packaging materials, packaging aids or pallets made from various packaging materials to hold, protect, handle, deliver and present goods.
Packaging is assigned to “sales packaging or primary packaging”, “outer packaging or secondary packaging”, “transport packaging or third-party packaging” or possibly also service packaging.
Anyone who puts packaging material on the market must fulfill EPR obligations in accordance with their role (e.g. manufacturer, importer, packer, large-scale waste point, supplier to large-scale waste points, self-fulfiller, self-importer, mail order company, final distributor, final consumer).
New responsibilities (EPR) for Austrian producers
- Obligation to enter into a contract with one of the companies approved by the Austrian government, which will take on the responsibility for recycling the packaging for a fee;
- Obligation to provide information to subsequent sales levels;
- Obligation to pay fees. Details for the calculation of the fees are published depending on the product group in the published in resolutions of the Austrian Ministry;
- Annual reporting obligation of data for the previous calendar year. For large companies, the frequency of reporting can be quarterly or monthly.
From the beginning of 2023, foreign companies must appoint an authorized representative if they fill the Republic of Austria with their packaging when sending goods. In addition, they must issue a notarized power of attorney to the representative.
Authorized representatives are only companies or persons based in Austria.
Annual reporting deadline is by March 15 (for the previous calendar year).
Manufacturers’ liability for non-compliance with Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) obligations in Austria
Violation of EPR requirements in Austria has serious consequences, for example:
- Restriction of sales authorization (this rule is effective from January 1, 2023);
- Fines and penalties that depend on the severity of the violations.