Press release: The countdown has begun. New rules for the sale of smart clothing and furniture

  • As of August 2018, clothing and furniture fitted with electrical features will have to comply with the ElektroG.
  • Companies can now register their products with the appropriate authorities in line with the new legal regulations.

As of 1st May, retailers, manufacturers and importers of clothing or furniture with additional electrical features can register their products with the national register for waste electrical equipment (stiftung ear) in line with the new legal requirements. The registration of the range is necessary because the so-called Open Scope of Germany’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG) comes into force as of 15th August 2018. This means that products such as electrically adjustable writing desks or garments fitted with blinking lights will have to be registered before sales begin, in order to ensure that the technology is disposed on in an environmentally friendly way.

Anyone who has not registered their products by this deadline risks having to pay fines of up to 100,000 euros and receiving cease and desist letters from their competitors. “Companies ought to put together their applications now and hand them in as soon as possible, so that they are on solid legal grounds by 15th August,” says Anja Olsok, the managing director of Bitkom Servicegesellschaft mbH, who is also in charge of weee full-service. Registering with stiftung ear can take up to three months. If the application is not completed correctly, the procedure may be delayed by several weeks.

The following hints may be a starting point for the companies concerned:

  1.  Check your product range carefully: Companies need to get an overview of which of their products require registration.
  2.  Assign your products to the right categories: In order to register their products with stiftung ear, companies need to assign the electronic equipment to the appropriate product categories. In some cases, it will be necessary to measure the dimensions of the products. Weee full-service has published a decision tree and a video (in German) with guidelines for measuring the dimensions.
  3. Register your products: In order to apply for registration with stiftung ear, companies need a service provider for the disposal of the waste products, details of the brands sold, pictures and German-language descriptions of the products, as well as their tax identification number.
  4. Start selling: As soon as registration with stiftung ear has been completed, companies will receive a WEEE registration number and are then allowed to sell their electronic products. The WEEE registration number must be included on invoices and offers, for example.

The reason for these changes is the revision of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG) that took place in 2015. Introducing the Open Scope is one of the last steps in implementing the new ElektroG. In doing so, stiftung ear is meeting the requirements of the European WEEE Directive. Other EU countries such as Austria and France have already implemented these legal requirements. The remaining countries in the European Union now have to follow suit, like Germany.

weee full-service is offering free online seminars and informational events along with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry to provide information about the forthcoming changes. The 45-minute online seminars give participants an overview of the requirements they need to fulfil when selling their electronic products: overview and registration.

Further information about the Open Scope in Germany:

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