The new ElektroG2 law

The ElektroG2: what has changed for retailers?

This new law has made it obligatory for both shops and online/mail order retailers to set up completely new structures to take back old electrical appliances.

According to the new law, take-back schemes must now include the following:

  • Suitable containers must be set up in the individual stores for collecting & storing e-waste
  • Online/mail order retailers must set up designated collection facilities – within a “reasonable distance” – so their customers can hand back their e-waste
  • Retailers must register all old appliances that are handed in to them
  • A professional transport logistics system must be set up. This may mean that online/mail order retailers must collect old appliances from their customers’ homes
  • All appliances that are handed in must be collected, transported and recycled correctly – and proof provided of this
  • An information, documentation and reporting system must be set up. This also includes informing customers about the new take-back alternatives now available to them
  • Finally, each retailer must provide the “Clearing House” (Stiftung Elektro-Altgeräte Register EAR) with a detailed description of how they intend to take back e-waste.

The new ElektroG: what rules apply to which retailers?

The transitional period granted by the new law regulating the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of WEEE (ElektroG2) ends on 24 July 2016. From this point onwards, every shop with a sales area greater than 400m² and every online retailer with a storage/dispatch area greater than 400m² in Germany must take back old toasters, smartphones, electric jigsaws and washing machines.

It makes absolutely no difference if electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) only makes up a part of a retailer’s range of products. Nor does it matter how much or how little such sales contribute towards their overall turnover. A food retailer, for example, that also has an electrical and electronic equipment sales area greater than 400m² may also be obliged to take back old appliances.

Small WEEE

Retailers must take back small WEEE (< 25cm on their longest side) irrespective of whether the customer purchases a new appliance or not.

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Larger waste appliances must only be taken back by retailers if their customers buy a new appliance of the same type.

No matter what the case: once retailers have accepted old appliances, they must ensure that these are collected, transported and recycled or disposed of correctly – and provide proof and relevant documentation of this.

These obligations also apply to online/mail order retailers: according to the new law, they must make it possible for their customers to hand in their old appliances to a facility located within a “reasonable distance”. What they are not permitted to do here is to point them in the direction of the nearest municipal recycling centre – the legislator has decreed that retailers must set up their own collection scheme.