The new Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act has been in force since 1 January 2022. Here are the most important changes at a glance.
The new Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG) was published on 27 May 2021 and came into force on 1 January 2022. Here are the most important changes affecting manufacturer and distributor obligations:
Take-back concept (Section 7 a amended ElektroG):
- Under the new law, for B2B registrations, manufacturers (or their authorised representative) have to submit a take-back concept for the disposal of future WEEE.
Take-back obligation (Section 19 amended ElektroG):
- Amendment of the previous provision, under which deviating agreements on the future disposal of B2B equipment could be made between the seller and the buyer.
- New provision: The possibility of agreeing deviating provisions is now limited to future disposal costs. This means that reasonable return options must be provided.
- According to Section 19 (a) amended ElektroG, manufacturers are obliged to provide the following information concerning B2B equipment:
- options for returning and disposing of waste equipment offered by them;
- end-user responsibility for deleting personal data from the waste equipment to be disposed of; and
- the meaning of the symbol according to Annex 3 (“crossed-out wheeled bin”)
- In addition, B2B equipment must also be marked with the “crossed-out wheeled bin” symbol. This applies to all devices first placed on the market after 1 January 2023.
- According to the new Section 4 para. 4 amended ElektroG, manufacturers are obliged to enclose information with electrical and electronic equipment containing a battery or an accumulator, informing end-users about the type and the chemical system of the battery or accumulator, and about its safe removal. The end-user or independent qualified personnel should be able to remove the battery or accumulator easily and non-destructively from waste equipment when it is returned.
- Further changes for manufacturers concern their information obligations towards customers according to Section 18 para. 4 amended ElektroG (breaches are now considered regulatory offences) and their reporting obligations towards Stiftung ear under Section 27 amended ElektroG. Section 28 amended ElektroG now emphasises that the obligation to provide information with regard to reuse or treatment must be provided in German or English, while the obligation to notify Stiftung ear of collection points pursuant to Article 25 (2) ElektroG has been deleted.
Electronic marketplaces and fulfilment service providers:
- The amendment introduces the terms “electronic marketplace”, “operator of an electronic marketplace” and “fulfilment service provider”.
- Since 1 January 2023, “operators of an electronic marketplace” and “fulfilment service providers” have only been allowed to offer or perform their services for manufacturers who have duly registered under the ElektroG.
- Any violations constitute a regulatory offence.
Changes concerning registration:
- An addition has been made to the information in Annex 2, which is to be provided upon registration.
- It now says: “in the case of distribution by means of distance communication to other EU Member States: List of Member States and name of the authorised representative in the Member States where the producer distributes electrical and electronic equipment by means of distance communication”.
Take-back by the distributor:
- Since 1 July 2022, the take-back obligations of major distributors also apply to food retailers with a sales area of 800 square metres or more, provided they offer electrical or electronic equipment several times a year, or on a regular basis.
- In addition, Section 17 amended ElektroG provides even more explicitly that free take-back must also be offered in the case of free delivery to private households. Under the amended law, distributors are now obliged to expressly ask customers signing a sales contract whether they wish any waste equipment to be collected when the new equipment is delivered. This also applies to internet retailers when selling three of the six appliance categories (i.e. the rather larger, bulkier ones).
- Furthermore, the information obligation is extended and concretised by Section 18 para. 3 amended ElektroG (among others “within the customers’ line of vision”). The breach of this information obligation has also been added to the list of regulatory offences.
- The obligation of distributors to indicate existing collection points in Section 23 para. 3 ElektroG has been deleted, as has Section 29 para. 4 ElektroG, which concerns the obligation of distributors to inform Stiftung ear in case they hand over taken-back WEEE to manufacturers, their authorised representatives or public disposal providers.
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