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Some authorized dealers currently do not deliver to Austria, mainly on online marketplaces in the Far East. Image: BigTunaOnline / Shutterstock

Non-delivery due to new packaging regulation

In Austria, the national packaging ordinance was updated at the beginning of the year. Since then, importers and companies without a registered office in Austria have had to appoint a local authorized person for packaging materials, otherwise they face penalties. For many smaller online retailers, this means additional work that they are currently not willing to bear. This is why it can be observed more and more in online shops that delivery to Austria is currently not possible.


Legal background: The Austrian Waste Management Act (AWG) was amended and has been in force since the turn of the year (Federal Law Gazette December 12 & 29, 2021). Before that, retailers only had to appoint authorized representatives in the waste electrical and electronic equipment sector. This obligation to appoint responsible persons has now been generalized to the entire packaging area. The only exceptions are those companies that already participate in the Austrian collection and recycling system at an upstream sales level (Section 13g (3) AWG). What is also new, however, is that this upstream sales level must be located within Austria.

In other words - trading companies can no longer commission foreign companies to register in the Austrian waste recycling system if they supply end consumers directly. Only if a company from a third country uses an Austrian import company does the obligation to authorize a legal or natural person to represent the company no longer apply and is transferred to the Austrian business partner. The authorized representatives must have their registered office and delivery address in Germany and assume responsibility in accordance with Section 9 of the VStG. They have a notarized power of attorney from the foreign company and are registered with the Ministry of the Environment via the EDM portal (Electronic Data Management Environment).

Polluters share in the costs

According to the Packaging Ordinance (VVO), the authorized persons must report the types of packaging and quantities imported and will be penalized for violations. Most foreign companies without Austrian business partners are now turning to Altstoff Recycling Austria AG (ARA AG). This umbrella organization under the supervision of the Ministry of the Environment ensures that all packaging put into circulation is recorded and recycled. As a non-profit, it provides foreign partners with authorized agents as a service on a license basis. Income from this now flows back into national waste recycling, and recycling systems are being improved from the additional income. Very similar processes are currently being developed in other European countries.

In distance selling, the classic web shop is increasingly delivering directly from abroad and without a local sales partner. As a result, the state has so far had little information and little control over the vast quantities of tons of imported packaging waste. Before 2023, on the one hand, the amount of packaging did not have to be reported and, on the other hand, there were no fees for participating in the national packaging recycling system. If online marketplaces operating in Austria list retailers who do not participate in the recycling system, these marketplaces will now be subject to high administrative penalties.

Too much rubbish from web orders

In Europe, the volume of plastic packaging alone is around 30 megatons (millions of tons) per year. Austria has to deal with an annual total amount of waste from private households of not quite 5 megatons. The trend is rising, with growing online trade making a significant contribution. On average, around half a tonne of household waste is generated per EU household every year. Austria is above that, the average private consumption in this country causes almost a fifth more annual waste per household. (Sources: StatistaEurostat) From January 2025, the reusable system for beverage packaging is to be expanded in Austria; with further innovations in the Austrian Packaging Act. Closures and lids must then be firmly attached to single-use plastic beverage containers and a deposit for single-use beverage packaging made of plastic or metal should also be introduced.

Aliexpress & Co won´t deliver

So if you currently select Austria as the delivery country in your shopping cart, you may have already noticed. Delivery to our country is often unavailable at the moment. Especially with the cheapest offers from the Far East, it can be observed that offers for Austrian shoppers are being suspended due to the new packaging ordinance. However, the reduced offer is only understood in the industry as a transitional phase until third-party retailers on Amazon Marketplace, Alixexpress, Allegro, Alibaba, etc. meet the formal conditions again. The domestic trade is of course welcome the harmonization of the obligation to pay the recycling fees, they saw themselves at a competitive disadvantage here. The new fees will be factored into the sales price and the cheapest offers will therefore increase in price somewhat.

If you placed an order before the turn of the year and the delivery is now not carried out, we recommend that you withdraw from the contract before the goods are delivered within an open period. You can use the following sample letter for this:

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