WEEE Germany: "Free riders" to be deprived of market access

Operators of electronic marketplaces and fulfilment service providers are to establish in future whether the manufacturers of the products sold on their platform are registered with the EAR Foundation (German WEEE registration board). No manufacturer is to be allowed to enter the market without meeting its obligations. Competitive disadvantages for manufacturers who behave in a legally compliant manner are to be avoided.

According to the Federal Environment Ministry, the German Bundestag passed an amendment to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG = German WEEE conversion) on 15 April 2021.

Evidently, operators of electronic marketplaces and fulfilment service providers are to establish in future whether the manufacturers of the products sold on their platform are registered with the EAR Foundation (German WEEE registration board). No manufacturer is to be allowed to enter the market any longer without meeting the relevant obligations. This is important in order to enforce the obligations of manufacturers under the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act. Competitive disadvantages for manufacturers who behave in a legally compliant manner are to be avoided.

This had been called for by the Association for the take-back and recycling of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (VERE e.V.) for many years and is therefore pleased for its affiliated members to be able to announce a partial success story for fair competition in the market.

Moreover, the Federal Government will improve the options available to the federal states to enforce the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act. The public data base on manufacturers will be expanded and the requirements will be specified for authorised representatives, who will be responsible for the fulfilment of manufacturer obligations for a very large number of foreign manufacturers. Moreover, the list of examples of electrical appliances covered by the Act will be extended. This is intended to make it clear that new types of products, such as clothing with lighting elements, are also considered electrical equipment and are therefore required to be registered with the EAR Foundation.

The amendment to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act must now be passed by the Bundesrat, and is expected to take effect on 1 January 2022. There are some transitional periods, such as the take-back obligation for retailers (6 months after taking effect) or the extended requirements for authorised representatives for several foreign manufacturers (12 months after entry into force). 

If you have any questions on the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act or on the authorised representative, please do not hesitate to contact the take-e-way consultancy team by calling +49/40/750687-0 or beratung@take-e-way.de.