Electrical and Electronic Equipment
With its Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act enacted in March 2005, Germany was one of the first European countries to implement the respective EU directive on Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Since then, companies selling a broad range of electrical goods have had to comply with it. The regulation requires producers to take back old appliances, thus making them consider future recycling as early as in the designing stage.
In close cooperation with the respective industrial associations in Germany, i.e. Bitkom, the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media, and ZVEI, the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association, a national clearing house for the return of used electrical and electronic equipment has been established under the name of EAR - Elektro-Altgeräte-Register. It has taken the legal form of a foundation and has been entrusted with administrative governmental responsibilities in the treatment of electrical and electronical waste. It is supervised by the Federal Environment Agency under the Federal Environment Ministry.
Distributors of almost any kind of electrical or electronic device must register with the EAR-foundation. The foundation organises the collection of used appliances and their further treatment. The Federal Environment Ministry has published a Guide on the Scope of Germany's Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act to help producers, importers and distributors decide whether they have to register their products or not. It is available online.
It is the intention of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act to make producers take back and recycle their products. However, several waste management companies in Germany will assume these obligations. Some service companies offer to manage the whole process on behalf of producers, importers and distributors. In Great Britain, the German-British Chamber of Commerce offers its assistance in this field. In Germany, the Garantiesystem Altgeräte (WEEE Guarantee System), a project sponsored by Bitkom Servicegesellschaft, is one potential partner with backing in an industrial association.
In the area of battery recycling, the Act Revising the Law of Waste-Related Product Responsibility for Batteries and Accumulators, which came into effect on December 1, 2009, regulates the placing on the market as well as the collection and recycling scheme of batteries and accumulators in Germany.