Information on the Austrian Packaging Ordinance 2014

Information zur Verpackungsverordnung 2014

Lesedauer: 15 Minuten

The Packaging Ordinance 2014 (VVO - Federal Law Gazette (BGBl) II no. 184/2014) transposes the Packaging Directive, specific provisions from the Waste Framework Directive and the Single-Use Plastics Directive into Austrian law. Supplementary requirements are set out in the Waste Management Act (AWG). The Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) provides further relevant information on its website under Topics > Climate and Environment > Waste and resource management > Circular economy.

The aim of the VVO is:

  • to promote reuse and prevention of packaging waste and to promote preparation for reuse and recycling;
  • to restrict hazardous substances in packaging in order to protect humans and the environment and to contribute to environmentally-friendly recycling and disposal of packaging waste;
  • to take measures in compliance with the waste hierarchy; and
  • to prevent and reduce the impacts of certain plastic products on the environment and human health and to promote the transition to a circular economy with innovative and sustainable business models, products and materials.

The VVO affects any entrepreneur who places packaging or certain single-use plastics on the market.

Accordingly, the following shall be deemed “placement of packaging on the market”, pursuant to Section 3, subsection 13:

  • the import of service packaging or packaged goods or products or single-use plastics, or
  • the original import (see Section, 3 subsection 20) of all packaging, or
  • in all other cases, the commercial transfer of packaging or goods or products in packaging materials or of single-use plastics, pursuant to Annex 6, to another legal entity in Austria, including distance selling.

Primary obligated parties are:

Definition of packaging

Packaging shall be deemed to mean packaging and packaging accessories made from various packaging materials or pallets for loading, protecting, handling, delivering and presenting goods (Section 3, subsection 1). The defining criteria must be taken into account. Examples are referred to in Annex 2. Classification lists for Annex 2 can be found under “Classification (Einstufung)” on the BMK server.

Packaging is classified as “sales packaging or primary packaging”, “repackaging or secondary packaging”, “transport packaging or tertiary packaging” or any service packaging. Another relevant classification is that of household packaging (section 2) and commercial packaging (section 3).

Anyone placing packaging material on the market shall comply with the obligations of VVO based on their function (e.g. manufacturers, importers, packers, major accumulation points, suppliers to major accumulation points, self-executing entities [“self-executors”], original importers, mail order businesses, final distributors, end consumers).

Prevention, recycling and material requirements for packaging

  • All plastic packaging must be capable of being reused or recycled from 1 January 2030.
  • Recycling rates for packaging materials shall be increased gradually (2025, 2030). The specific goals for packaging set out the following recycling rates for packaging by 2030: total (70%), plastics (55%), wood (30%), ferrous metals (80%), aluminium (60%), glass (75%) and paper and cardboard (85%)
  • Minimum recycled content for PET (25% from 2025 with a reporting obligation from the 2023 calendar year) and for single-use plastic drink bottles (30% from 2030 with a reporting obligation from the 2028 calendar year)
  • There is a general marketing ban on oxo-degradable plastics.
  • Requirements are imposed on packaging by virtue of heavy metal restrictions and pursuant to Annex 1 (Standards – e.g. for composting and biodegradation (ÖNORM EN 13432))

Obligation to participate in the household packaging system

At least as far as household packaging is concerned, the “primary obligated party” pursuant to Section 8 shall make use of a collection and recycling system.

Household packaging shall be deemed to mean packaging with a surface area up to and including 1.5 m² or hollow parts with a nominal volume up to and including 5 litres or expanded polystyrene (EPS – e.g. styrofoam) up to and including 0.15 kg, where this accumulates in private households or at accumulation points comparable to households. A list of “comparable accumulation points” can be found in Section 13h AWG.

The following shall also be deemed to be household packaging, regardless of size: service packaging (Section 3, subsection 7), carrier bags and knotted bags; packaging made out of glass and composite drink cartons, as well as sales packaging made out of paper, carton, cardboard and corrugated cardboard. The classification is supplemented by the requirements in the product groups set out in the Packaging Classification Ordinance (VerpackungsabgrenzungsV).

Manufacturers and importers of disposable tableware and cutlery pursuant to Section 18 shall observe the provisions on household packaging. You can find a list of examples here.

If an upstream distribution level is already participating in a collection and recycling system, the primary obligated party shall be exempted from the obligation to participate to the relevant extent. Relevant proof shall be provided through a legally binding declaration or by providing corresponding details on the invoice or delivery note.

Participation in various collection and recycling systems shall be possible if the criteria by which the material is allocated are disclosed. Switching between collection and recycling systems shall be possible on a quarterly basis.

Reporting obligations for household packaging

Collection and recycling systems can offer lump-sum solutions for a total of no more than 1,500 kg of household packaging and 1,500 kg of commercial packaging.

The reporting obligation shall apply uniformly to household packaging or commercial packaging:

  • annually                 for up to €1,500
  • quarterly                for €1,500 to €20,000 and
  • monthly                 above €20,000

of the expected annual charges paid.

The following information shall be reported to the collection and recycling system by 15 March of each year for the previous calendar year (on the first occasion for 2022) for both household and commercial packaging (exception for consolidation into lump sums):

Calculation of fees

Details on the allocation of household/commercial packaging for the calculation of fees are published per product group in the “Packaging Classification Ordinance” (regulation pursuant to Section 13h (2) AWG). The specifications are binding on everyone. A procedure based on an individual distribution channel analysis is not permitted. Otherwise the requirements of the collection and recycling systems shall apply. Please take note of their tools and the VKS calculation tool (currently for diagnostics, butcher’s trade, fruit and vegetables, shoes)

Provisions on commercial packaging

The following shall be deemed to be commercial packaging:

  • Packaging that is not household packaging;
  • Packaging made out of paper, carton, cardboard and corrugated cardboard which complies with the definition of transport packaging (Section 3, subsection 6);
  • Tray foils, pallets, strapping bands and adhesive tape, and
  • Packaging which essentially conforms to household packaging but which is to be released as commercial packaging based on the rate in the corresponding product group pursuant to the Packaging Classification Ordinance (pay attention to product group).

Obligations for commercial packaging from 1 January 2023

Transfer of obligation to a collection and recycling system

The obligation to take back, reuse, recycle and report commercial packaging shall be transferred to a collection and recycling system for commercial packaging. A “general” obligation to inform arises here e.g. for order or shipping documents. In the event of participation in a collection and recycling system at a downstream or upstream distribution level, proof shall be provided to the primary obligated parties in the form of a legally-binding declaration.

Details about the collection and recycling system, the time frame, tariff category (or categories) as well as the extent of participation shall be specified at least once a year, or in the event of any significant changes. Corresponding information can also be indicated on the invoice or delivery note. (BMK info: information sheet about information to be provided between distribution levels

The primarily obligated party shall keep the evidence provided (e.g. legally-binding declarations) for at least 7 years and present it to the authorities upon request.

Duties for “self-executors"

With effect from 1 January 2023, self-executors may only be the major accumulation point or the original importer. Relevant here is the separate recording for reuse and recycling and the fulfilment of reporting obligations (Annex 3), and compliance with the extended manufacturer’s responsibility for original importers of single-use plastics pursuant to Annex 6.


Final distributor of commercial packaging

Anyone delivering commercial packaging to end consumers (= final distributor) shall demonstrably participate in a collection and recycling system unless an upstream distribution level is demonstrably participating in a collection and recycling system and confirms this in writing. The declaration can also be made on the invoice or delivery note.

As far as commercial packaging delivered from 1 January 2023 is concerned, measures to take back packaging which they have placed on the market no longer apply due to the obligation to participate in a collection and recycling system. The collection of a legally-binding declaration and safekeeping thereof for at least seven years is deemed proof of participation by an upstream distribution level.

Consolidation into lump sums

Dispensers of “small packaging quantities” have the option of a simplified exemption from the obligation at a collection and recycling system for commercial packaging. The systems can offer alternative lump-sum solutions for a total packaging quantity not exceeding 1,500 kg of commercial packaging. As an alternative, packaging, in particular service packaging, which has been exempted from the obligation, may be procured from suppliers.


Suppliers at major accumulation points

Major accumulation points are listed in a register of major accumulation points . The reporting obligation shall be fulfilled pursuant to Section 10 (5) in the form of Annex 3, old version for suppliers at major accumulation points.

Original importers (internal consumption)

A commercial end consumer, who, as an original importer, acquires goods or products in packaging from abroad for the operation of its company and for whom such packaging is accumulated as waste in the company, shall reuse the packaging and commission a packaging waste collector or treatment operator to recycle the packaging in compliance with the regulation.

The originally imported packaging shall be recorded at least per collection category pursuant to Annex 5 and subsequently reused or recycled. Proof thereof shall be provided pursuant to Annex 3 by 31 March of the following year. Alternatively, exemption from the obligation is available at a collection and recycling system. – BMK info: information sheet on original imports

Reusable packaging

Exceptions shall apply to demonstrably reusable packaging for which deposits are charged and caps and labels jointly placed on the market with them with regard to Sections 8, 10 and 11.

The size of the caps and labels shall not exceed 5 percent by weight of the reusable container.

Reusable packaging can be provided with a “reusable” label to distinguish it from single-use packaging.

Annual reporting obligations under Annex 3, section 4 must be fulfilled by primarily obligated parties by 30 March at the latest, for the previous calendar year.

In order to fulfil EU recycling and collection objectives, the charging of a deposit is envisaged on plastic or metal single-use drinks packaging. The requirements pursuant to the Deposit Regulation for Single-Use Drinks Packaging shall be complied with from 1 January 2025.

Collection of packaging at other commercial accumulation points from 1 January 2023

Other commercial accumulation points are commercial accumulation points which cannot be compared with households (pursuant to the definition pursuant to Section 13h AWG). They shall separately record packaging at the accumulation point. Packaging which has been exempted from the obligation and collected separately can be taken to the designated collection point.

Collection of packaging – provisions for end consumers

End consumers are not allowed to do the following:

  • disposal of packaging waste at a non-designated collection point for packaging
  • disposal of packaging that is contaminated or has attached deposits making reuse or recycling difficult and
  • disposal of other waste (non-packaging). Exception: where explicit approval has been granted to do so.

Taking back transport packaging (Section 3, subsection 6)

In the event of deliveries to end consumers, transport packaging shall be taken back free of charge immediately or with the next delivery (step by step) at the recipient’s request. This obligation may not be transferred to a collection and recycling system.

Collection and recycling systems

The BMK publishes and updates a list of collection and recycling systems, including their scope of approval and posts this on the EDM portal: VVO systems – commercial and VVO systems – household.

The following are specified in the BMK list (version of September 2023):

Collection and recycling systems must offer chargeback of fees for household and commercial packaging. The BMK information sheet on returns should be noted here.

Overview of obligations and requirements for single-use plastics and fishing gear

A ban has been imposed on the placing of the following single-use plastic products on the market:

Cotton buds, disposable plastic cutlery (knives, forks, spoons and chopsticks), stirring sticks; disposable plates, drinking straws, balloon sticks; food packaging, drinks containers and drinking cups made out of expanded polystyrene

Reduction of consumption is stipulated for beverage cups, including their caps and lids, and for food packaging (e.g. takeaway meals, fast food).

Compliance with product requirements is stipulated, with effect from 3 July 2024, in respect of caps and lids for beverage containers with a capacity of up to three litres. EN 17655 has been defined as the harmonised standard for testing methods and requirements which prove that plastic caps for beverage containers remain attached to the container throughout the designated term of use for the product. Information on the standard can be found here.

An extended producer responsibility applies to food packaging, flexible bags and film packaging (with food content), beverage containers, drinking cups, lightweight plastic carrier bags, wet wipes, balloons, tobacco products with filters and filters for use in combination with tobacco products and equipment. (For details on the extended producer responsibility, see Section 3 (7), subsection 4a AWG and Section 5 of AWG.)

Labelling rules have been in place since 3 July 2021 for sanitary towels (sanitary pads, tampons and tampon applicators); wet wipes for body care and household care; tobacco products; drinks containers and drinking cups, including caps and lids and equipment (regulated elsewhere)

(Legal basis: labelling regulation for single-use plastics – link to vector graphics)

Reporting obligations for single-use plastics shall be complied with via collection and recycling systems for household packaging.

With effect from 1 January 2023, the following applies to single-use plastics:

Ban on placing plastic carrier bags on the market with effect from 1 January 2020

Pursuant to Section 13j AWG, a ban has been imposed on placing all plastic carrier bags on the market since 1 January 2020.

Definitions (Section 2 (10) AWG), exceptions (Section 13k AWG) for (self‑)composting, ultra-lightweight plastic carrier bags (the relevant standard here is ÖN EN 13432), as well as reusable lightweight plastic carrier bags, and reporting obligations (§ 13m AWG) shall be observed.

Final distributors shall no longer deliver such plastic carrier bags to end consumers which have been prohibited by AWG since 31 December 2020 (Section 13l AWG).

Penalties range from €450 to €2,100.

General requirements from the AWG amendment to the circular economy package on packaging

Stand: 17.10.2023

Weitere interessante Artikel
  • Default Veranstaltungsbild Artikelseite mit grafischen Elementen
    In-house waste management - General information on the Waste Management Act 2002
  • Default Veranstaltungsbild Artikelseite mit grafischen Elementen
    What is a plant? Check list - the path to licensing