The obligation to taking back is limited to devices with an edge length >25 cm from private households (as defined by the German Waste Management and Product Recycling Act) as well as to old appliances from other origin, provided that the normal household quantity of 5 devices is not exceeded.
All waste appliances – regardless of their edge length – have to be taken back if the customer buys a new device of the same type and with almost the same functions. The return can either take place at the point of supply or within close proximity (§17, Section 1, No. 1)
The retailer has to bear the costs for both, the 0:1 and the 1:1 return. Consumers have to be informed on the return options and must not be referred to the next municipal collection point
As soon as a retailer – no matter if fixed location or online – has 400 m² or more sales, storage or shelf space, he has to register his business at the EAR Foundation. Besides his own registration, he also has to indicate his points of return.
Retailers have to report the annual quantity of collected devices (separated in categories indicating the weight per category – see §29) if they recycle the devices themselves. Further reporting obligations occur if the retailer has outsourced the recycling. If the retailer does not process the equipment himself, he has to report to the EAR the quantities which he gives to public collection points and/or to manufacturers. This report to the EAR has to be effected by April, 30th, of the following calendar year. The EAR Foundation is entitled to claim that the reported quantities according to §13, Abs. 1, No. 1 and 3 – 6 ElektroG will be confirmed by an independent expert (§13, Abs. 3, sentence 5 ElektroG).
All transports of waste electrical equipment have to be declared as waste transports (A-sign on the vehicle) according to §55 German Waste Management and Product Recycling Act. This also applies to retailers who transport their collected devices to a local collection point. The retailer also has to take care that his transport agents observe the A-Sign obligation. This obligation also applies to parcel service enterprises who collect and transport waste electrical devices from consumers on behalf of responsible distance sales merchants.
Retailers are obliged to give their collected WEEE exclusively to certified primary treatment facilities. To fulfill their reporting obligation, they have to claim the corresponding data in order to be able to comply with their reporting obligation.
Along with the update of ADR and RID Prescriptions beginning of the year 2015, several new requirements arise with regard to the collection and transport of waste electrical and electronic equipment containing lithium batteries or accumulators.
Lithium containing accumulators or batteries can cause dangerous reactions (fires, explosions). They are thus considered as hazardous goods and are subject to special transport instructions for the transport of hazardous goods.
Consumers are responsible for their personal data. Retailers have to inform their customers about their own responsibility with regard to the deletion of personal data in old electrical or electronic devices to be recycled.
Additional reporting obligations towards the relevant authorities apply to retailers who are obliged to take back waste electrical and electronic devices but do neither give this equipment back to the manufacturer nor to public collection points but process and recycle it themselves.
According to §36 ElektroG, revised version, the Federal Environment Agency is the “responsible authority”. The EAR Foundation is the “Clearing House” within the meaning of the law and is in charge of sovereign tasks: https://www.stiftung-EAR.de/