Environmental Labels: German 'Blauer Engel' and EU Ecolabel
Two major environmental labels exist in Germany - the ''Blauer Engel'' and the EU Ecolabel. Since 1978, businesses which produce particularly environmentally friendly products have been eligible for the German 'Blauer Engel.' In 1992, the EU Ecolabel was established in order to recognize such businesses' products on the European level.
The blue angel (''Blauer Engel'') signet is a simple, visible way to communicate a product's environmental quality to consumers. By using this environmental label on packaging, producers can increase the competitiveness of their products and services. Companies can receive one or more 'Blauer Engel' in four different categories of products protecting health, the climate, resources and water for a period of approximately four years. The 'Blauer Engel' works closely with the Global Ecolabelling Network as well as those responsible for the EU Ecolabel.
In Germany, both labels are awarded by the non-profit arm of the RAL (Deutsches Institut für Gütesicherung und Kennzeichnung e.V., German Institute for Quality Assurance and Certification). An independent jury from all corners of society is appointed by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment to decide who receives the ''Blauer Engel.''
Companies selling a broad range of electrical goods to Europe must comply with the EU's WEEE standard. This standard indicates that electronic products and equipment fulfill the mandatory collection and disposal requirements stated in the WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC. The label must be placed on all products that have been introduced into the market after August 2005 and fall in one of 10 specified categories in the directive.