Frequently Asked Questions
Find all answers to your questions regarding the following topics:
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 EPR-registration & 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 EPR 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.
For Germany, we can also make you an offer just for the packaging license – without the consulting. This service is free of charge, simply write us a message via our contact form and state your packaging quantities for the calendar year. We will provide you an offer for the German packaging license within a few working days.
Starting Q2 2021, we have added compliance-guides for electronics and batteries to our service. Our guides will help you find an “authorized representative” and register with WEEE agencies and compliance schemes in each country.
The mandatory recycling labels in the EU have to be placed on your (household) packaging (product- & shipping packaging that ends up in household waste). Various EU member states have their own requirements for labelling packaging with recycling symbols; a common system does not currently exist.
The general reasons for you to implement the labelling requirements are
- to ensure that you meet regulatory requirements, and
- that you can provide your customers/consumers with the information they need to handle their waste appropriately
Since Q2 2022, we offer a premium service for labelling obligations in the EU. This service supports you to comply with the labelling requirements in various countries and use compliant labels on your products. We would be able to share detailed information with you, check your already designed labels, or develop them directly for you. Feel free to contact us for further details and an overview of the fees.
Our digital service in the “All of Europe” package also includes a comprehensive report on Europe-wide recycling label obligations, and the “per Country” package includes the most relevant information in the digital manuals for countries where such obligations exist.
Indeed, similar laws exist for producers or (online-) retailers of fashion (textile products, shoes) or furniture in France, and for mattresses in Belgium. More EU member states will implement such laws for textile products and mattresses in the coming years. Our ecosistant service covers all relevant recycling laws for e-commerce.
Tip: Customers of our subscription-based service will automatically get access to future updates of our service, without additional cost. Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know.
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.
Please note that b2b companies can of course take on the labeling requirements for their customers who resell their products abroad and hence use our labelling premium service.
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.
With regards to the labeling requirements in the EU, we not only support online shops/e-commerce businesses.
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 under 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, ca. 230,000€ in Poland, 2,000,000€ in Belgium, 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
You can purchase our digital compliance consulting service “per Country” or for “all of Europe”. It is essentially the same service, where with the Europe-Service you get access to all countries at once and save more than 30%.
You get all information and manuals on how to fulfill your packaging compliance in the selected countries (Country-Service) or in all countries (Europe-Service). You save time and gain certainty for your compliance-management, compared to researching freely available information on Google.
Our information is also being updated frequently and you are notified if there are any changes during your subscription period. 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. This is especially important, because regulations in each country are often being changed for the new calendar year or during the year, or because your company growth (sales volumes, packaging quantities) may lead to different obligations than before.
Customers of our Premium-Service get an expert account manager 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.
And in the Premium Service for labeling requirements, we also provide you with an account manager (depending on the package booked) who will support you with label development and/or label check.
We generally recommend our digitalized services (Country- or Europe-Service). 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.
If you only ship to a few countries, you can use our Country-Service and flexibly add more countries later.
If you ship to most or all European countries, our Europe-Service is overall cheaper and more convenient.
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.
We offer three different offers in relation to the labeling requirements in the EU. We would be happy to discuss the right offer for you via email or on the phone.
Our digital service always come with a 12-month subscription-period. The subscription is a special service to always keep your compliance up-to-date to save you time and reduce your risk. This is important, because regulations in each country are often being changed for the new calendar year or during the year, or because your company growth (sales volumes, packaging quantities) may lead to different obligations than before.
You can, however, cancel your subscription already in the first year (with a 30 days’ notice by the end of the subscription period). Please note that in this case, you will no longer get updates and have access to your compliance-manuals after your subscription ends.
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 are currently limited to companies seated within the 27 EU member states or Great Britain, and a few additional countries. If you cannot find your country in the list on our registration form, contact us and we will find a solution.
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.
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, payments for subsequent years are always charged 12 months after your last payment. You can find all conditions for your subscription payments in your customer portal under “Order Management”. Customers of our Premium Service may have individual payment conditions based on their contract with us.
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. For our subscription-based service, annual costs will apply for each subsequent year. These are also displayed on the checkout page before your purchase.
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.
Our subscription-based service is valid for 12 months and automatically extended by another year unless you cancel the contract with a 30 days’ notice by the end of the subscription period. Cancellation is already possible in the first year of your subscription.
Premium-Service: The service generally can be cancelled from the first calendar year, i.e. the year the contract came into place, for the subsequent calendar year. (with a 30 days’ notice by the end of each calendar year, unless specified differently in your contract.)
The service can be cancelled in your member portal under “Order Management”. You can cancel the service only for some or for all of your subscriptions. 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.