Consumers will be able to return their used electrical and electronic equipment such as laptops, radios or vacuum cleaners free of charge if they buy a new and comparable device in the store.
Smaller electrical and electronic equipment may be returned without purchasing a new device. However, the latter regulation will only apply to bigger retailers with a sales area of more than 400 square meters, and also to bigger online sellers.
The new take-back obligations are regulated by the reform of the German ElektroG (Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act), which is expected to enter into force at the end of this year. This reform transposes the changes of the WEEE Directive 2012/19 /EU (WEEE Recast Directive) which came into force in 2012. As further EU member states, Germany is in delay with the implementation which should have been carried out before February 14, 2014.
Beside the increased take-back obligations for retailers, the WEEE Directive foresees new collection rates for WEEE starting with next year. The collection rates shall evolve gradually, and from 2019 the minimum collection rate to be achieved annually shall be 65 percent. Furthermore, the product scope will be extended to all electrical and electronic devices beginning with 2018.