Information according to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG)
The Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG) contains a large number of requirements for the handling of electrical and electronic equipment. The most important ones are summarised here.
1. Separate collection of waste equipment
Electrical and electronic equipment that has become waste is referred to as old equipment. Owners of WEEE must dispose of it separately from unsorted municipal waste. In particular, old appliances do not belong in household waste, but in special collection and return systems.
2. Batteries, rechargeable batteries and lamps
As a rule, owners of WEEE must separate spent batteries and accumulators that are not enclosed in the WEEE, as well as lamps that can be removed from the WEEE without damaging it, from the WEEE before handing it in at a collection point. This does not apply if WEEE is prepared for reuse with the participation of a public waste management authority.
3. Options for the return of WEEE
Owners of old appliances from private households can hand them in free of charge at the collection points of the public waste disposal authorities or at the take-back points set up by manufacturers or distributors as defined by the ElektroG. You can find out which collection point is nearest to you at: www.take-e-back.de
Shops with a sales area of at least 400 m² for electrical and electronic equipment as well as those grocery stores with a total sales area of at least 800 m² that offer electrical and electronic equipment several times a year or permanently and make it available on the market are subject to the take-back obligation. This also applies to sales using means of distance communication if the storage and dispatch areas for electrical and electronic equipment amount to at least 400 m² or the total storage and dispatch areas amount to at least 800 m². Distance sellers who are obliged to take back electrical and electronic equipment must in principle ensure take-back by providing suitable return facilities at a reasonable distance from the respective end user.
Distributors who are obliged to take back WEEE have the option of returning it free of charge if, for example, a new appliance of the same type that essentially fulfils the same functions is supplied to an end user. If a new appliance is delivered to a private household, the similar waste appliance can also be handed over there for collection free of charge; this applies in the case of distribution by means of distance communication for appliances of categories 1, 2 or 4 pursuant to § 2 para. 1 ElektroG, namely "heat transmitters", "visual display units" or "large appliances" (the latter with at least one external dimension exceeding 50 centimetres). End-users are asked about their intention to return such equipment when they conclude a purchase contract. In addition, it is possible to return such waste equipment, which does not exceed 25 centimetres in any external dimension, to the collection points of the distributors free of charge, irrespective of the purchase of a new device, and this is limited to three waste devices per type of device.
4. Data protection notice
Old devices often contain sensitive personal data. This applies in particular to information and telecommunications technology devices such as computers and smartphones. In your own interest, please note that each end user is responsible for deleting the data on the end-of-life devices to be disposed of.
5. Meaning of the "crossed-out dustbin" symbol
The symbol of a crossed-out dustbin, which is regularly displayed on electrical and electronic equipment, indicates that the respective device must be collected separately from unsorted municipal waste at the end of its service life.
6. Note on waste avoidance
According to the provisions of Directive 2008/98/EU on waste and its implementation in the legislation of the Member States of the European Union, waste prevention measures generally take precedence over waste management measures. In the case of electrical and electronic equipment, waste prevention measures include, in particular, extending the life of the equipment by repairing defective equipment and disposing of used equipment in good working order instead of sending it for disposal. Further information can be found in the Waste Avoidance Programme of the Federal Government with the participation of the Länder:
WEEE-Reg. No. DE 38864883