Who is a manufacturer or initial distributor (within the meaning of the VerpackG)?

It is not, as one might assume, the producer or supplier (wholesaler) of packaging that is affected by the Packaging Act, but the person who fills the packaging with goods, i.e. who produces the sales unit. Read here why.

From 1 January 2019, the manufacturer ("initial distributor") within the meaning of the VerpackG is the party who places packaging subject to system participation on the market for the first time on a commercial basis.

The term "packaging" does not refer to the actual packaging material, but essentially to sales packaging that is "typically offered to the end consumer as a sales unit consisting of goods and packaging" (Section 3 (1) no. 1 VerpackG).

This also includes secondary packaging, service packaging and the shipping packaging of online retailers, including filling material and labels.

"Sales packaging subject to system participation" is sales and secondary packaging filled with goods that typically accumulates as waste with private final consumers after use (Section 3 (8) VerpackG).