VERE Members Report New Year '12

Dear VERE e.V. Members,

Again we can report a lot of good news and we hope you can do it just as well. The following lines will give you an insight into the many interesting topics of our daily work and we hope you will enjoy reading.

Yours sincerely,
The VERE Association

1. WEEE Recast includes numerous reforms

20 days after their probable publication in the mid of 2012, the WEEE recast will come into force and latest 18 months after the publication it will become national law – in Germany it will be implemented with an amendment of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG). The following points have to be mentioned as an essential result of the trialogue:

Application range (open scope)
The application range including ten device categories which had been concluded up to now will remain into force for six years as transitional agreement after taking effect. Upon expiry of the transitional agreement there will be an open application range including six device categories. Thus, in the future all electrical and electronic devices are included in the application range of the WEEE guideline – with a few exceptions. Not later than three years after coming into force, the application range will be reviewed – among other things regarding the delimitation criteria between small or large devices.

Manufacturer term and national registration
Up to now the national manufacturer term (definition of producer) respectively the national registration is maintained further on. However, the companies can determine a legal representative (commissioner) instead of a subsidiary for the purpose of the national registration of the distance selling and/or the standard export of their devices in each member state to which they are selling their products. However, it is required that the manufacturer has a registered office in another EU country. In the future, the Internet trade will also be included with this regulation.

Take-back obligation for the commerce
The representatives of the member states and of the EU Parliament agree upon a general take-back obligation for waste electrical and electronic equipment in the retail sector; but the consumer will not be obliged to buy a new device at the same time. This take-back obligation should only obtain for small appliances which are not larger than 25 centimetres. Furthermore, shops should only be obliged to take back devices if they have a sales area of more than 400 square meters. Smaller retail stores and shops of craftsmen shall not be concerned by this regulation.

2. EAR again reduces the fees

On December 14th, 2011, the Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit (BMU) (=The Federal Ministry for Environment, Conservation and Nuclear Safety) has enacted the fourth regulation to modify the ElektroGKostV (= The Cost Ordinance on the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act – ElektroG). This fourth regulation was announced on December 30th, 2011 and came into force on December 31st, 2011. With the new regulation, the fees of the Stiftung Elektro-Altgeräte Register (Foundation EAR) will be reduced at an average of 15 to 18 percent. For comparison: The EAR fee for the basic registration including warranty check will now cost a total of 182.00 euros (formerly 218.00 euros) and has thus been reduced by 36.00 euros. The repeated reduction of the rates of charges is welcomed by VERE and is valued as another step in the right direction.

However, VERE considers that the relation among the individual rates of charges might have a tendency to adversary effects on small and medium sized companies (SMEs). VERE will commit themselves further on towards an equitable treatment of the SMEs.

3. Red collecting box awarded as prizewinner

The red collecting box for small electrical appliances and energy-saving lamps of take-e-way GmbH at Hamburg was awarded as second prizewinner of the 15th Environment and Health Prize of SIGNAL-IDUNA. take-e-way started the take-back system together with the Authority for City Development and Environment of Hamburg and the recycling company for electronic waste TCMG at Hamburg. The citizens of Hamburg can easily bring along their small electrical appliances and energy-saving lamps and deposit them in the box for free.

The second award is worth 4'000 Euros; it was handed over to take-e-way by Mrs. Professor Dr.-Ing. Kerstin Kuchta of the Institute for Environmental Technology and Energy Industry of the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg who highlighted the character of the take-back system which is paving the way to preserve raw material resources in her laudation.

The SIGNAL IDUNA Environmental and Health Award of the Chamber of Commerce of Hamburg which is worth a total of 15'000 Euros is awarded for the 15th time. More than 1'200 applicants have participated with their ideas in the competition of the award which takes place every two years since the first price was awarded in 1987.

4. Complete Success: Panel event of VERE

The panel event "Product Responsibility – a solvable Challenge?" initiated by take-e-way GmbH and the VERE association which took place on November 17th in Berlin was well received by the participants of a large international audience from politics, economy, associations and representatives. About 70 participants took part in an intensive exchange of views beside the exciting presentations. Thus, the panel event was a complete success.

Thanks to the support of the top-class referees Dr. Thomas Rummler (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety - BMU), Jana Dörschel (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology - BMWI), Dr. Martin Büscher (Hansecontrol GmbH), Thomas Krone (Donner & Reuschel Treuhand-Gesellschaft mbH & Co. KG) and Christoph Brellinger (take-e-way GmbH/VERE e.V.) it was possible to offer a very informative event with a large spectrum to the participants.

One of the highlights of the contributions was made by the chairman of the Foundation Elektro-Altgeräte Register (EAR), Alexander Goldberg, with his eagerly awaited presentation "Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act - ElektroG in Germany – a manageable task for all market participants“. Mr. Goldberg lifted the veil of the topic disposal algorithm of the Foundation EAR and gave direct insight in the computing logic of the system.

Finally, the atmosphere among the participants of the event was excellently summarized by an authority representative: "I had lots of good talks and was able to establish interesting contacts. I especially enjoyed the good, constructive atmosphere of the panel event today“.

5. Cooperation in the committees of the Foundation EAR

In particular, the continuing good and constructive work atmosphere with the Foundation Elektro-Altgeräte Register (EAR) is continued since 2011 when the chairmanship was taken over by Mr. Alexander Goldberg. Already in the last newsletter, VERE reported on the recent positive experiences.

In addition, the constructive exchange of experiences is intensified due to the active assistance of Mr. Hjalmar Vierle in the committees of the regulating Foundation EAR: Mr. Vierle was elected on the occasion of the replacement of the committee in 2011 in the working groups of product divisions as well as in the product-spanning working groups in the field of small domestic appliances and of entertainment electronics.

Hjalmar Vierle being member of the VERE Association and procurator of take-e-way GmbH is best familiar with the practical implementation of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG) in Germany and can contribute to improvements for the manufacturers due to his wide range of experiences.

6. Development of VERE members 2011

The rise of new members in the VERE Association is continuing unabated. In 2011, we were welcomed 254 new companies to our association (Last updated: 31.12.2011). Thus the VERE Association has grown 12 percent in the last year and in the meantime attained a total of 2402 member companies.

With this strong support by the small and medium-sized companies VERE will further develop its political influence as advocate of "the small companies" and as solution provider in the field of product responsibility in 2012.

In this sense, we wish you a happy, successful and above all healthy year 2012!

Yours VERE Association