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Frequently Asked Questions

Find all answers to your questions regarding the following topics:

General questions

Consider us as your digital compliance consultant. We deliver you all information needed for the implementation of recycling compliance in regard to the EU packaging waste directive and similar national laws in 30 countries. With our digital service you get information and manuals precisely tailored to your individual needs, thus you can save time and money while being compliant in each of your European markets. Our data is always up-to-date and easily adjusts to changes in your company. Our digital service starting from 19.99€ per country offers a low-cost alternative to expensive compliance consultants, which often cost 500€ or more per country. This way, pan-European packaging compliance finally becomes affordable for small and medium-size e-commerce businesses.

No, ecosistant provides you with all necessary information for each country to perform the licensing of your packaging yourself. You save large amounts of money a consultant would cost, save hours or days of work and gain certainty about your compliance obligations in each country.

For customers of our premium service, we also take over the registration and communication with compliance schemes and institutions for you, including necessary data declarations. Compliance itself, however, cannot be granted by ecosistant, but by compliance schemes with the official license to take over your obligations from recycling laws in the respective countries. We can offer you a full-service-solution and help as a consultant and intermediary.

We currently limit our services to pan-European packaging compliance in 30 countries. We constantly work on the expansion of our service. Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know about future services.

Tip: Customers of our subscription-based Unlimited-Service will automatically get access to future updates of our service, without additional cost.

We cannot offer legal advice for your specific case. We do not replace the services of a lawyer. However, we can provide you all relevant information for your company, from which you can take your obligations for packaging compliance in each country and how to fulfill them.

Our offer is directed to all e-commerce businesses, which ship (packaged) goods directly to the end-consumer (b2c e-commerce). The term end-consumer in this context includes small companies, hotels, cinemas, restaurants and other companies where packaging becomes part of municipal waste.

Especially e-commerce businesses shipping internationally or EU-wide profit from our services.

In general, our service is only for b2c online shops. Pure b2b shops do usually not have the same obligations for packaging recycling, unless their customers include small companies, hotels, cinemas, restaurants and other companies where packaging becomes part of municipal waste. In special cases, we recommend contacting our support before booking any of our services.

In general, our service is made for b2c online shops and other distance sellers shipping products directly to end-consumers. If this applies to you, you can use our services. In special cases, we recommend contacting our support before booking any of our services.

Your data exclusively being used to be able to provide you our services. All data is stored on secure servers within the EU and we do not share your data with any third parties without your consent. Click here to find out more about our data and privacy policy.

EU packaging waste directive

The EU packaging waste directive regulates targets and quotas the recycling of packaging waste in all EU member states and put responsibility onto producers, importers and sellers to pay for the recycling of their packaging. Online shops are also responsible und the core principle of “extended producer responsibility”. Since every member state must anchor the regulations in their national law, different rules and institutions exist in each state. Several non-EU countries have introduced similar laws. This leads to an incredibly complex situation, especially for e-commerce businesses shipping to several or all European countries. They are forced to evaluate their obligations for packaging waste recycling in each country and how they can fulfill them.

The German packaging law obligates all producers and retailers (including online shops) which sell packaged goods to end-consumers to “license” their packaging with recycling schemes. This means that a fee must be payed for the packaging placed onto the market. This licensing fee is usually a few cents per kilogram of packaging depending on the material, e.g. paper, plastic, aluminium, etc.

By paying these licensing fees, retailers that place packaging on the market are financing the recycling of their share of packaging waste. The system also incentivizes retailers to reduce packaging quantities.

Similar systems are in place in other EU countries, although the wording may be different, e.g. “environmental tax” instead of “packaging license”. However, institutions, fees, minimum thresholds, and legal obligations can be completely different for each country. Therefore, especially online retailers which offer EU- or international shipping struggle to oversee their legal obligations and CSR in all countries. This is why we offer our Europe-wide compliance service.

Most of these national laws originate from the EU packaging waste directive.

If you offer shipping cross-border to other countries, it is generally not enough to license your packaging only in your home country. E-commerce businesses are responsible for the exact amount of packaging they ship to customers in each country. While this responsibility may be limited only to transport packaging in one’s home country (the manufacturer should already have licensed product- and sales-packaging), online shops are usually responsible for any product- and sales-packaging placed on the market abroad as well.

Due to minimum thresholds, exceptions for foreign or small enterprises, or exceptions for certain types of packaging, you may not have obligations in all the countries you are offering shipments to. You must check for each country individually, whether there are obligations for your company or not.

The obligations are generally for packaging sent directly to consumers, which accumulates in municipal waste at households or similar places, this includes for instance hotels, cinemas, restaurants or small companies.

However, if you ship your products to distributors abroad which then sell them to the consumer, obligations for packaging recycling are usually on the side of the foreign distributor (importer).

If you sell exclusively on Amazon’s FBA platform, Amazon will handle the licensing of their own Amazon-branded shipping boxes. However, as the seller you still must make sure that your product packaging is licensed with recycling schemes in each of your target markets wherever necessary.

If you have a dropshipping business, you must make sure that the producer/fulfiller license the packaging in each country. Otherwise, you as the seller may be held responsible. This is even more so true if you sell your own brands or if the packaging can be traced back to your store in any way.

The penalties for violation of the respective national laws differ by country. The most common penalties are monetary fines (e.g. up to 200,000€ in Germany, up to 230,000€ in Poland, etc.) or interdiction of commerce for your company. Negative PR or negative public opinion or even boycotts by customers are also possible consequences in times of awareness for global climate change, if you do not fulfill your obligations for packaging recycling.

There is no simple yes or no answer to this question. There are minimum thresholds or exemptions for small companies in certain countries, but not in all. By using our service, ecosistant will let you know if you do not have to take any action in a country.

In many countries, even small companies have obligations from the first package shipped or even by just offering shipments on their websites.

Costs and recycling fees vary by country and usually depend on the quantities and types of packaging (material) shipped, e.g. recycling of paper is usually cheaper than plastics (per kg).

ecosistant has no influence on any cost for compliance schemes or institutions, but we inform you in advance about your estimated cost for packaging recycling in each country. You can then decide whether you want to bear the cost for compliance or whether you want to stop selling to the affected countries.

Order process & account

By booking our Basic-Service, you get all information and manuals on how to fulfill your packaging compliance in the booked countries in the current calendar year. The information is also being updated if there are any changes during that calendar year. Similarly, you can update your information several times a year, e.g. if your company grows, to always get the optimum solution for your business.

The Unlimited-Service includes everything from the Basic-Service plus all future updates of our compliance service. And since the subscription is automatically extended in the next calendar year, you will stay up to date in the future as well. This is especially important, because regulations in each country are often being changed for the new calendar year, or because your company growth (sales volumes, packaging quantities) may lead to different obligations than before.

Customers of our Premium-Service get a consultant by their side, who consults and supports you regarding packaging compliance in 30 European countries. We take over the registration and communication with compliance schemes and other institutions as well as all necessary declarations of (packaging) data.

We generally recommend our digitalized services (Basic or Unlimited). You will notice that due to minimum thresholds or exemptions, you usually do not have obligations in all your countries, and you can save considerable cost if you perform the licensing of your packaging yourself. Especially for startups or SMEs, this is the optimum solution.

In order to stay up to date and minimize your compliance risks in the future, we recommend our Unlimited-Service and frequent updates of your data within our questionnaires. (at least once every calendar year)

If you want to avoid as much work as possible and rather leave your packaging compliance to an expert, our Premium-Service may be the best for you. Due to the rather high price, it is especially suitable for larger e-commerce businesses.

Simply select your preferred service and click on the “Continue”-button in our service overview. With your purchase, an account will automatically be created. Just follow all steps of the process.

In rare occasions, it may take up to 10 minutes for the registration-e-mail to be delivered. Please also check your spam folder. A common reason is a typing error in the e-mail address. In this case, you can simply repeat the purchase process from the beginning.

Should you not get any registration-e-mail regardless, please contact us. Our support team will gladly help you.

Our digital services (Basic & Unlimited) are currently limited to companies seated within the 27 EU member states or Great Britain.

We can offer our Premium Service to customers outside the EU. If you are interested, please contact us via e-mail or our contact form and enquire about our Premium Service.

Payment

We currently accept payments via SEPA direct debit, credit card (Visa, Mastercard) and PayPal.

Payment is due at purchase and will be charged either immediately or within a few banking days, depending on the selected payment method. If you purchase a subscription-based service (Unlimited or Premium), payments for subsequent years are always charged in early January.

Payment by instalments is currently not possible.

You receive an invoice for each payment. You can find your invoices in your customer portal under “Order Management”.

All prices displayed are net prices excluding VAT (value-added tax). For customers from Germany, VAT (19%) will be charged on the invoice. Customers from outside Germany pay the net price excluding VAT and are responsible for paying VAT in their respective country (reverse charge).

There are no hidden costs. We show you exactly what you will pay before you make your purchase. If you purchase a subscription-based service (Unlimited or Premium), yearly costs will apply for each subsequent calendar year.

In certain countries, you may face costs by third parties (e.g. recycling fees or environmental taxes) when complying with the respective recycling legislation. However, these costs are not in any way connected to ecosistant’s service and will only be due if you fulfill your obligations. As part of our service, we inform you about possible costs in advance.

Withdrawal & cancellation

Our service is limited to commercial customers. A right of withdrawal is excluded.

For customers of our subscription-based services (Unlimited or Premium), the contract is automatically extended by another calendar year, unless you cancel the contract with a 30 days’ notice by the end of the year.

Unlimited-Service: The service can be cancelled after the second calendar year, i.e. if you book the service for 2020, you can cancel the service for the first time by 1 December 2021 for the calendar year 2022.

Premium-Service: The service can be cancelled from the first calendar year, i.e. the year the contract came into place, for the subsequent calendar year.

The service can be cancelled in your member portal under “Order Management”. You can either cancel the service for single countries or the overall subscription. Alternatively, cancellation is also possible in written form via e-mail or letter. Contact us.

Your account is still active after cancellation of your subscription. If you want us to delete your account and data, you can request deletion in written form via e-mail or letter. Your data will be deleted pursuant to GDPR. You will receive a separate notice about the deletion of your account and data from us by e-mail.