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Distribute and dispose of electrical appliances in accordance with WEEE and the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG)

We assist you by drawing on our many years of experience.

As a retailer or manufacturer of electrical appliances, you are subject to a wide variety of country-specific guidelines around the world, which are designed to ensure that your appliances are disposed of in a regulated and environmentally friendly manner. Particularly in Germany, the requirements governed in the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG) are high.

As a manufacturer and/or distributor of electrical appliances, you can expect comprehensive changes to the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act since 2018. The most important deadline was 15th August 2018.

From 15th August 2018, Open Scope’ applies. Thus, ALL electrical and electronic equipment is subject to mandatory registration according to the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act. This means that, in future, considerably more devices will be subject to registration than before, such as furniture and clothing/textiles with electrical functions and many other products.

What’s more, from 15th August 2018, the current 10 categories will be replaced by 6 new categories in line with the European WEEE Directive:

  1. Heat exchangers
  2. Screens, monitors and equipment containing screens with a surface area of more than 100 cm²
  3. Lighting
  4. Equipment for which at least one of the external dimensions exceeds 50 cm (large appliances)
  5. Equipment where none of the external dimensions exceeds 50 cm (small appliances)
  6. Small IT and telecommunications devices for which none of the external dimensions exceeds 50 cm.

This amendment not only applies to new registrations but also to all existing registrations. As of 26th October 2018, stiftung ear will transfer all existing registrations for previous device types to the corresponding successor device types. Manufacturers must check for themselves whether a registration as a new device type is necessary and whether an additional or replacement registration is required. A transitional period until 31st December 2018 is provided for this.

So familiarise yourself with the new developments, because those who do not comply with their registration obligations risk receiving a warning under competition law or even a fine from the law enforcement authorities (up to €100,000).

Don’t let it come to that – we’ll take care of it!

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WEEE National (DE-DE)

WEEE National (GER-GER)

Are you a manufacturer or distributor of electrical appliances within Germany?This means you are subject to the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroGesetz). In Germany the WEEE directive is enforced by the authority of stiftung ear.

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WEEE International (INT-DE)

WEEE International (INT-GER)

If you are a supplier or manufacturer from abroad and want to sell your products on the German market, you are also subject to the German ElektroG. In Germany the WEEE directive is enforced by the authority of stiftung ear.

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WEEE International (INT-INT)

WEEE International (INT-INT)

Are you a manufacturer or distributor of electrical devices supplying your products on different international markets? In this case you are subject to the international WEEE directive, which, depending on the specific country, has been implemented by different national laws and regulations.

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Deutsche Recycling provides you with professional, comprehensive support from logistics to administration relating to the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act. This includes registration, applying for a WEEE number, ongoing quantity reporting and communication with stiftung ear, and all of the logistics, recovery and recycling of your electrical waste. We also act as an authorised representative for foreign manufacturers and distributors according to Section 8 of ElektroG. We offer our services at a national and international level.

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WEEE Directive and ElektroG: obligations and useful information for manufacturers & retailers

Overview:

German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG): the new ElektroG2 at a glance
Products covered: Scope and application of the law
Obligations for distributors and manufacturers
Fees and expenses
Penalties
Clearing house: stiftung ear
WEEE internationally and at an EU level
Reports and authorised representatives


 

The Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG) is the German implementation of the EU WEEE Directive. The directive and law pursue the overriding goal of protecting the environment and health. They also serve to achieve sustainability and conserve resources. For manufacturers, this results in numerous obligations that affect the entire life cycle of production. You can gain support for the legally compliant distribution and disposal of electrical equipment at Deutsche Recycling.
Reports and authorised representatives

German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG): the new ElektroG2 at a glance

The law with the short title ‘Elektro- und Elektronikgerätegesetz’ (abbreviated to ElektroG) has existed in its new version since 20th October 2015 and came into force on 24th October 2015. The last amendment dates from 27th June 2017 and comes into force on 31st December 2018. The law is the German contribution to implementing the EU’s WEEE Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU).

The aim of the law is to ensure and implement product responsibility under waste legislation for all manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment. Specifically, the law serves to protect health and the environment from harmful substances in the appliances. It also serves to reduce the amount of waste generated. The latter is achieved through re-use and recycling.

This means that manufacturers have a greater responsibility than before for their electrical and electronic products over their entire product life cycle. The same applies to importers and exporters. Under ElektroG, municipalities are obliged to accept electrical and electronic waste from private households at appropriate collection points. Manufacturers, in turn, are obliged to collect and dispose of such waste properly.

Products covered: Scope and application of the law

In principle, the scope of application for the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act applies to all electrical and electronic equipment for AC operation with a maximum of 1,000 volts or DC operation with 1,500 volts. According to Section 3(1) of ElektroG, these devices must meet the following requirements:

  • The devices require electric currents or electromagnetic fields for their proper operation.
  • These are devices for generating, measuring or transmitting electric currents or electromagnetic fields.

The scope of application for ElektroG also provides for electrical and electronic equipment to be divided into certain product categories. There is also a further division between B2C (business-to-customer) and B2B (business-to-business).

A new version of the product categories in the scope of application has existed since summer 2018. These have been reduced from 10 to 6:

  1. Heat exchangers, such as refrigerators and air conditioners
  2. Screens and devices with screens with a surface area of more than 100 square centimetres (e.g. monitors or notebooks)
  3. Lighting, including LEDs, fluorescent tubes and energy-saving light bulbs
  4. Large electrical appliances with at least one external dimension of more than 50 centimetres (e.g. washing machines, dryers or dishwashers)
  5. Small electrical appliances for which no external dimension exceeds 50 centimetres (e.g. clocks or radios)
  6. Small electrical devices for IT and telecommunications, no external dimensions over 50 centimetres (e.g. smartphones)

There are many exceptions to this scope of application. These are defined, in particular, according to Section 2(2) of ElektroG and via the clearing house (stiftung elektro-altgeräte register). These exceptions include electrical equipment that serves to protect German security interests. This covers equipment for authorities with security-relevant duties. Electrical equipment for military purposes, such as weapons under the War Weapons Control Act, is also excluded from the scope of application. Equipment intended for use in space is also excluded.

The product categories do not include electrical components that are part of other equipment that does not fall within the scope of application (e.g. automotive electrical equipment). Older light sources such as incandescent and halogen bulbs are also excluded. The same applies to stationary industrial plants and tools.

Please bear in mind that the applicability of each exception depends on the specific product characteristics and the respective situation. It is therefore not recommended to apply an exception without expert assistance.

Obligations for distributors and manufacturers

The obligations on producers and distributors of electrical and electronic equipment include:

  • Self-assessment
  • Registration
  • Guarantees
  • Management
  • Take-back & disposal
  • Labelling
  • Consumer information
  • Indication of the registration number

With regard to the obligations for you as a retailer and manufacturer, the main points are as follows. The registration obligation stipulates that producers of electrical and electronic equipment must register both themselves and their appliances. The purpose of registration is to prevent producers from placing electrical equipment on the market in an anti-competitive manner.

Registered manufacturers must continue to comply with the disposal obligations defined in ElektroG, which generate additional costs. If you sell products to end customers (B2C) as a manufacturer, you are obliged to submit an annual insolvency-proof guarantee. This guarantees that a manufacturer can also take care of the disposal of his equipment and the associated costs in the event of insolvency. What’s more, manufacturers must comply with certain labelling obligations in accordance with Section 7 of ElektroG.

The duty to provide information essentially concerns Section 13 of ElektroG. According to this, manufacturers must, in particular, send the competent body a monthly report regarding the number of new devices they have put into circulation. According to Section 14 of ElektroG, the competent body is Stiftung Elektro-Altgeräte (organisation’s preferred spelling: stiftung ear).

Fees and expenses

The clearing house (stiftung ear) is funded through fees. These fees are to be determined on the basis of certain fee elements. These charges include, for example, registration. The legal framework of the fee structure is provided by Section 6 of the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act. It defines the tasks of the clearing house and the charging of fees. The individual expenses and fee items are defined in the German Regulation on Fees for Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ElektroGGebV).

It should be noted that, when ElektroG2 comes into force, it is not only the manufacturers themselves who will have to pay fees. The municipalities are also involved in the operation and financing of the clearing house. As public waste disposal authorities, municipalities are primarily affected in connection with opting in. This concerns the direct recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment that is not allocated to stiftung ear in the course of collection coordination.

Penalties

In connection with ElektroG, the penalties and sanctions for producers of electrical and electronic equipment in the event of non-compliance with the obligations include

  • Fines
  • Warnings
  • Compensation
  • Skimming of profits
  • Distribution bans

The fines concern administrative offences such as distribution without registration or the neglect of other obligations under Section 45 of ElektroG. The amount is up to 100,000 euros per individual case. In addition to this is the skimming of unlawfully generated profits. No distribution may take place until the fines have been paid, which is tantamount to a temporary ban on distribution.

Warnings primarily concern infringements of the German Act Against Unfair Competition (UWG). In particular Section 6(1) of ElektroG (concerning the obligation to register) is an important rule of market conduct, since non-compliance with this obligation represents a competitive advantage over competitors.

Under civil law, manufacturers can be obliged to pay damages if they fail to meet the obligations of ElektroG. The legal basis for this is Section 9 of UWG. If a manufacturer gains an unfair advantage over a competitor, the latter may be entitled to compensation.

At the level of administrative law, the skimming of excess profit can be demanded in addition to the fine. This is intended to counter an intentional breach of the ElektroG obligations. Theoretically, a manufacturer could otherwise achieve a profit advantage despite paying a fine.

Distribution bans usually arise in the course of penalties under private law or administrative law. A civil warning usually concerns stopping the distribution of certain unlawfully marketed articles.

Clearing house: stiftung ear

Legal and technical supervision is the responsibility of Stiftung Elektro-Altgeräte (stiftung ear). Manufacturers have set up this foundation as a clearing house. As the competent authority, the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA) has transferred the sovereign tasks according to Section 40(1) of ElektroG to the foundation. This serves to support and give formal approval to the actions of the UBA as the enforcement authority. One of the many competencies and tasks of stiftung ear is to decide on the areas of application for the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act.

WEEE internationally and at an EU level

Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is the overarching European body of regulations. ElektroG equates to its German implementation. The WEEE Directive came into force for the first time in 2003. The EU directive was amended in August 2012. The regulations serve to prevent electrical and electronic waste or achieve its re-use through recycling. According to the WEEE Directive, each Member State must establish a national register. Stiftung ear assumes this role in Germany.

Before you place products on the market, you must register as a manufacturer with national registers and apply for a WEEE number. The implementation in the member countries is not uniform, which is why a separate registration is required for each country. It is also mandatory to join a compliance system recognised by the state.

Reports and authorised representatives

If your company is not based in Germany, you will need an authorised representative to place your electrical and electronic products on the German market. ElektroG provides for registration via an authorised representative before the start of sales. What’s more, foreign companies must submit an insolvency-proof guarantee, report the quantities sold and ensure environmentally friendly disposal.

Your authorised representative represents your company vis-à-vis stiftung ear and helps you to meet the obligations under ElektroG. Foreign companies that are already registered now also have to re-register via an authorised representative. The previous registration and the WEEE number are no longer valid. The authorised representative acts as a legal or natural entity representing the foreign company in Germany.

Full service at Deutsche Recycling

Deutsche Recycling helps you distribute and dispose of your electrical and electronic equipment. In compliance with the EU directive WEEE2 and ElektroG, Deutsche Recycling offers you as a manufacturer or retailer comprehensive assistance in overcoming the significant challenges.

There is thus nothing standing in the way of regulated and environmentally friendly disposal. The requirements have particularly increased since the effective date on 15th August 2018, which means that all electrical and electronic devices are subject to registration in accordance with the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act. In this context, the 6 new product categories are also important. Please bear in mind that the changes affect not only new but also existing registrations. To this end, as a manufacturer, you are obliged to check whether registration in a new equipment category is required.

There is a transitional period until 31st December 2018. You should have implemented the changes by then in order to avoid sanctions such as warnings or fines. The Deutsche Recycling service will help you face the new challenges.