The Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act

Manufacturers assume product responsibility for take-back and disposal.

The aim is to avoid waste from electrical and electronic equipment in order to protect the environment or to reduce it through reuse and recycling. The law aims to extend the responsibility of producers for their EEE put on the market to the entire product life cycle of their equipment. It obliges producers, distributors or importers to contribute to the disposal costs of their equipment. Companies must take back and recycle their electrical equipment put on the market according to certain ecological standards.

The magical 65: Germany has set itself the goal of increasing the collection rate of electronic products to 65 per cent in 2019. In 2016, 43.1 per cent of the 45 per cent target was achieved.   

Elektro- und Elektronikgerätegesetz | weee full-service

 

What there is to know about the ElektroG

The ElektroG requires manufacturers to…

  • register electronic products and apply for a WEEE number before market launch.
  • …provide an insolvency-proof guarantee.
  • ...of B2B products have a take-back concept.
  • report the numbers sold at regular intervals.
  • …ensure that the products are disposed of in an environmentally compatible way.
  • …indicate their registration number on the products.
  • …fulfil their obligation to label products and inform private households.


The ElektroG defines a manufacturer as any natural or legal person who has offices in the respective member state and…

  • …manufactures electrical or electronic equipment in their own name/as their own brand.
  • …commissions the manufacture of electrical or electronic equipment in their own name/as their own brand.
  • …resells electrical or electronic equipment made by other manufacturers in their own name/as their own brand.
  • …brings electrical or electronic equipment to the market from abroad (importer).
  • …sells electrical or electronic equipment directly to users with the help of telecommunications technologies and is based in a different member state or outside the EU.
     

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Changes of the ElektroG3

1. B2B manufacturers must deposit their take-back concept in the ear portal (from 1 January 2022 for new registrations | 30 June 2022 for registered manufacturers)

Whereas manufacturers of B2B equipment were previously able to contractually transfer disposal responsibility to their customers, this will no longer be possible in future. Only the financing of the disposal can be imposed on the customer. This means that manufacturers of B2B equipment must in any case have a take-back concept for their old equipment. This must contain:

  • A declaration that the manufacturer/authorised representative has set up return facilities, 
  • If a third party has been commissioned, its name and address,
  • A description of how the waste holder can access the return facilities. 

2. extended responsibility for marketplace operators and fulfilment service providers (from 1 January 2023)

Operators of electronic marketplaces as well as fulfilment service providers are no longer allowed to offer or provide equipment of non-registered customers or to pack, store, address and ship it. For this purpose, they must check from 2023 whether their customers are properly registered with stiftung ear.

3. authorisation procedure for larger authorised representatives (from 1 January 2023)

With the audit requirement for marketplace operators and fulfilment service providers, the number of foreign companies registered via authorised representatives will also increase significantly. Therefore, authorised representatives who hold more than 20 registrations for one or more clients at stiftung ear will have to be approved by the foundation in the future.

4. extension of the distributor take-back to the food retail trade (from 1 January 2022)

Whereas electrical goods stores, DIY stores and other distributors with a sales area for electrical and electronic equipment of at least 400 square metres were already obliged to take back WEEE, this will in future also apply to food retailers with a total sales area of at least 800 square metres who also offer electrical and electronic equipment several times a calendar year or on a permanent basis and make it available on the market.

5. changes to the notification and reporting obligations (from 1 January 2022)

Notification obligations

  • In the future, manufacturers - regardless of whether they are B2B or B2C registered - must take re-imports into account when determining the quantities placed on the market and must include equipment taken back and exported second-hand when reporting so-called "indirect export quantities".
  • What is new for operators of primary treatment facilities is that from 2022 they will also be subject to comparable annual reporting obligations as manufacturers, opting public authorities and distributors. On the other hand, the annual reporting obligation of owners who are obliged to dispose of waste to stiftung ear will no longer apply.

Reporting obligations

  • For manufacturers/authorised representatives and commissioned third parties who voluntarily take back B2C equipment themselves, the obligation to notify their take-back system, including take-back points, does not apply.
  • Distributors also do not have to notify their take-back points. Nevertheless, they still need an active account in the ear portal to fulfil their reporting obligations.
  • The existing notification obligation for operators of primary treatment plants will be extended: In future, each plant location must be notified separately, the categories and waste management activities treated there must be indicated and proof of a valid certificate for the location must be provided. The information and certificate will be subject to a fee-based audit by stiftung ear. Implausible data or an invalid certificate will lead to the deletion of the entry of the primary treatment facility in the register.

6. minimum collection quantity in the display screen group decreases (from 1 January 2022)

From 2022, the minimum collection quantity required to trigger a collection of group 2 (display screen equipment) by the public waste management authorities (örE) will be reduced to 20 cubic metres. From then on, the same one-day grace period will also apply to the placement of containers at transfer points as already applies to the collection of full containers.


 

2022 – Amendment | ElektroG3

The German ElektroG is currently being amended and a new version is expected to come into force in 2022.

These are the most important modifications for manufacturers and traders:

  • Inclusion of food retailers in the obligation to take back old electrical appliances, provided they have more than 800 square metres of shop space and offer electrical appliances several times a year. (from 01.07.2022)
  • An audit obligation for online marketplaces and fulfilment service providers with regard to registration with stiftung ear will be introduced. (from 01.01.2023)
  • It must be possible to remove used batteries and accumulators without any problems and without destroying them, and with commercially available tools.
  • The container sizes that producers place with public waste management authorities must be reduced from 30 to 20 cbm.
  • New reporting obligations:
    1. Separate quantity reporting of second-hand equipment outside Germany.
    2. Details of the authorised representative in the case of distance selling outside Germany.
  • Extension of the term "placing on the market" by making an electrical appliance available on the German market again, which was exported from Germany.

Read related news with further information here.

2018 – Open Scope 

15 August 2018: Transition to so-called "Open Scope", using 6 categories. This means that more electronic devices fall under the ElektroG.

Read more about the Open Scope here.

2016/17 – Transition period

1 July 2017: Changes in the retail take-back obligation:

  • Fines of up to 100,000 € for failure to meet retail take-back obligation
  • Specification of number of electrical devices that sellers and manufacturers must take back from consumers: 5 end-of-use products per type of Equipment
  • Fines of up to 10,000 € for companies that are obliged to take back equipment and fail to appoint a Waste Management Officer

24 July 2016: Retail industry obliged to take back equipment and indicate collection points (retail take-back obligation)
​​​24 April 2016: (Re)registration of companies without offices in Germany via authorised representative  
1 February 2016: Reassignment of electrical and electronic equipment to collection groups
24 January 2016: Obligation to register lamps and photovoltaic modules

2015 – Amendment | ElektroG 2

24 October 2015: The German ElektroG has been amended.

2005 – Enactment | ElektroG

24 March 2005: The ElektroG has come into force in Germany.

 



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