Collection rate for electrical appliances missed again

Germany has clearly missed the collection target for e-waste. According to the Umweltbundesamt (Federal Environment Agency), 947,067 tonnes of WEEE were collected by municipalities, retailers and manufacturers in 2019. This corresponds to a collection rate of 44.3 per cent. By the way: The actual target for the minimum collection rate was set at 65 percent for all EU member states.

Where do the old devices end up if they are not returned to the collection points? A new Bitkom study on the topic of "Digitisation and Sustainability" now shows it in black and white: a significant portion of the discarded devices end up in the household waste of German households – exactly where they do not belong.

Big gap between knowledge and action

92 per cent of the population surveyed know that valuable raw materials are wasted by old appliances lying around. And yet: the gap between knowing about it and acting responsibly is large. After all, 40 percent also admit that there are too many unused old appliances in their household. 39 percent feel that disposal is too much work and 22 percent have already disposed of their old electrical appliances in the household waste because they do not know how to dispose of them properly.

The value of the product in decisive in the behaviour

It is striking that low-priced devices such as PC accessories end up in household waste more often than higher-priced devices such as smartphones, as the comparison below shows by way of example.

Results of a representative survey commissioned by the digital association Bitkom*.

PC accessories


Disposal in household waste

12 % 

1 %

Return to distributor

23 %

25 %

Collection point / recycling station

32 %

35 %

Re-Selling / Donation

23 %

36 %

*These are the results of a representative survey commissioned by the digital association Bitkom among 1,005 people in Germany aged 16 and over. Read more about the Bitkom results (German only)

Hope for ElektroG3

With the amendment of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act, food discounters or supermarkets will also be obliged to take back WEEE from 1 July 2022. This applies to retailers that have a total sales area of at least 800 square metres and also offer electrical and electronic equipment several times a calendar year or on a permanent basis. The excuse that disposal is too much work should no longer apply.


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