Germany’s New Plastic Bill

The Germany Cabinet has recently unveiled new draft plans to introduce a levy on manufacturers of Single Use Plastics (SUPs) and non-resident companies selling directly on a B2C basis to German consumers.  If the measure is approved, the funds raised will be used to contribute to the cost of cleaning up litter in streets and parks.

Microsoftteams Image (50)
Jayne Harrold
Published: 09 Dec 2022 Updated: 12 Dec 2022
Business tax ESG Tax

The introduction of this levy is to ensure Germany meets its obligations under the EU-wide SUP directive, implemented in 2019 and is expected to collect €450m in the first year based on in-scope companies’ production of SUPs. The aim is for the levy to be implemented in 2025, subject to passing both Parliament and Federal Council approval – which is expected in Q1 2023. The amount imposed will be calculated using a multiple that will be derived from scientific research, based on the impact SUPs are having on the local environment. 

It is expected the German definition of SUPs within the scope of the levy will be based on the definition under the EU Directive and include the following plastic items:-

  1. Food containers, i.e. receptacles such as boxes, with or without a cover, used to contain food which: 
  2. is intended for immediate consumption, either on-the-spot or take-away, 
  3. is typically consumed from the receptacle, and 
  1. is ready to be consumed without any further preparation, such as cooking, boiling or heating, including food containers used for fast food or other meal ready for immediate consumption, except beverage containers, plates and packets and wrappers containing food; 
  2. Packets and wrappers made from flexible material containing food that is intended for immediate consumption from the packet or wrapper without any further preparation;
  3. Beverage containers with a capacity of up to three litres, i.e. receptacles used to contain liquid such as beverage bottles including their caps and lids and composite beverage packaging including their caps and lids, but not glass or metal beverage containers that have caps and lids made from plastic; 
  4. Cups for beverages, including their covers and lids;
  5. Lightweight plastic carrier bags with a thickness of less than 50 microns, with or without a handle, offered to consumers at the point of sale of the goods or products;
  6. Wet wipes, i.e. pre-wetted personal care and domestic wipes;
  7. Balloons, except balloons for industrial or other professional uses and applications that are not distributed to consumers;
  8. Tobacco products with filters and filters marketed for use in combination with tobacco products.

Please note the legislation is still in draft and so the list may change.

Businesses that sell SUPs will be required to report manufacturing of SUPs and pay amounts due to the German Federal Environmental Agency, however, at this stage it is understood non-resident businesses will only be required to fulfil reporting and payment obligations if they sell in scope SUPs on a B2C basis to German consumers. Should businesses fail in their registration, reporting and payment obligations it is expected they will face penalties and/or sales bans of relevant SUP products. 

If your business is affected and you need help assessing the impact or preparing for compliance, please do contact Jayne Harrold, Hugh Doherty or your usual adviser.

Approval code: NTAJ14122273

By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. This briefing does not constitute advice nor a recommendation relating to the acquisition or disposal of investments. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication.

Tax legislation

Tax legislation is that prevailing at the time, is subject to change without notice and depends on individual circumstances. You should always seek appropriate tax advice before making decisions. HMRC Tax Year 2023/24.