Shipping to Austria: Shipping guidelines and packaging regulations

Verpackungsrichtlinie Österreich
Grüner Punkt packaging labeling in Spain

Since 2023, there have been important changes for retailers who ship their products to Austria. The reason for this is the comprehensive reform of packaging legislation in Austria, which parallels the changes already implemented in Germany (more). The focus here is on the amendments to the Austrian Waste Management Act (AWG amendment as part of the circular economy package) and the revision of the Austrian Packaging Ordinance (VerpackVO amendment 2021). In this article, we highlight the main changes that have applied to foreign retailers shipping to Austria since January 2023.

Requirement for shipping to Austria: Appointment of an authorised representative

A significant rule change has applied to international mail order companies that deliver goods to Austria since 2023. This states that they must appoint an authorised representative based in Austria if they import packaging materials into Austria. These retailers are therefore no longer responsible for fulfilling their own legal obligations. The regulation applies to all companies without a registered office or branch in Austria that sell products (including packaging) to private end customers in Austria. The authorised person assumes responsibility for compliance with the obligations of mail order companies and acts as their representative in Austria.

In order to act as an authorised representative, the person or legal entity must fulfil the following criteria:

  • have a valid address in Austria
  • have an official place of business in Austria
  • is appointed by a notarised power of attorney
  • is responsible for compliance with the administrative regulations pursuant to §9 of the Austrian Administrative Penal Code

Stricter controls on electronic marketplaces and in the fulfilment sector

Since 2023, retailers who sell their products via online marketplaces or use fulfilment services must provide appropriate evidence of compliance with the provisions of the German Packaging Ordinance (VerpackVO). If this evidence cannot be provided, marketplace operators are obliged to remove the retailers in question from their platforms. Similarly, fulfilment service providers may no longer provide services to retailers who are unable to provide the required evidence.

Reporting obligations for manufacturers and distributors

Distributors of reusable packaging, sales packaging and certain single-use plastic products are obliged to fulfil their reporting obligations by 15 March each year.

Obligations for suppliers of commercial packaging

Suppliers of commercial packaging, i.e. packaging that is not sent to private end consumers but to business customers such as intermediaries or companies, must participate in a corresponding system. The only exceptions to this regulation are for bulk collection points and own importers.

Regulations for the import of single-use plastic products to Austria

Anyone importing single-use plastic products such as wet wipes, balloons, tobacco products or fishing tackle into Austria must also appoint an authorised representative. In addition, participation in a system is required for these products.

It is also important to note that certain single-use plastic products such as cotton buds, disposable cutlery, disposable tableware, drinking straws, sticks for balloons and food packaging made of expanded polystyrene have already been subject to a comprehensive import ban in Austria since 3 July 2021.

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