Changes in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act: More recycling of WEEE

Registration of producers of electrical and electronic equipment started

Old televisions and computer monitors on a pile.Click to enlarge
End-of-life electrical and electronic devices are not waste, for they contain valuable resources
Source: Gerhard Kotschik / UBA

From 15 August 2018 the Act Governing the Sale, Return and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment – ElektroG will apply to virtually all types of electrical and electronic equipment. The aim is to ensure that more waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) ends up being recycled. Producers of equipment which was not previously covered must now also be registered and absorb some of the costs of equipment disposal. This also applies to producers of clothing and furniture with electronic functions. Another example of products which were not previously covered by the legislation: shoes with integrated electronic shock absorption or lighting. The only exceptions are explicitly identified in the legislative act, for example equipment intended for use in space travel. As of 1 May 2018 producers which have become subject to the new regulations in ElektroG can apply to be registered with stiftung elektro-altgeräte register (stiftung ear).

Adjustments will also need to be made by producers which are already registered. The registration authority stiftung ear will automatically transfer previous registration of a certain type of device/equipment to the next-generation type of device/equipment. Despite the automatic transfer, registered producers must nevertheless check whether other equipment types require renewed registration. The legal transition period for completing registration ends on 31 December 2018. Further information is available on the website of the stiftung ear.

The German Environment Agency (UBA) will continue to monitor compliance with the new regulations. Effective prosecution of infractions by so-called "free riders" in the past has prompted many producers to comply with their obligations pursuant to the legislation, which is proven by the steady increase in the number of producers registered with stiftung ear. In future, even mere suspicion will initiate an administrative offence procedure against any business in Germany which is not properly registered. In addition to the possibility of reporting an improper registration to UBA, producers can issue a cease and desist declaration under competition law to non-registered rival producers.

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 ElektroG  WEEE  Recycling