German collection rate slightly lower than EU collection rate of 45 percent

According to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), 853,000 tonnes of old electrical appliances were collected in Germany in 2018. This corresponds to a collection rate of 43.1 percent, which means that the German rate is slightly below the EU collection target of 45 percent. 

Biggest gap: large household appliances and commercial sector

There are several reasons for falling short of the EU collection rate: At almost half a million tonnes, the gap between the appliances placed on the market and the collected appliances is particularly large when it comes to refrigerators and other large household appliances such as washing machines. 

For commercial appliances, the gap is around 240,000 tonnes and the collection rate is therefore only around 25 percent; it must be noted that there is no free take-back obligation on the part of retailers or local authorities. 

An unknown quantity of old appliances also gets collected via non-certified scrap yards and illegal collectors and is therefore missing from the properly collected quantities. 

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Return: not attractive enough for consumers

Furthermore, some appliances – especially smaller, older ones - are incorrectly disposed of in household waste (general waste). If they end up in the grey or yellow bin, for example, valuable raw materials are lost. This can also result in heavy metals being released into the environment. 

Amendment planned

The Federal Ministry for the Environment intends to introduce an amendment to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act in the near future, which, among other things, should also provide for measures to increase the volume of collected waste.

Source: Federal Environment Agency (UBA)