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Source: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety Small old electrical devices should be taken back regardless of the purchase of a new product in supermarkets. Larger old devices should be able to be handed in when a corresponding, new article is purchased.

In the future, consumers should be able to hand in old cell phones, flashlights and other electronic devices at many food retailers. This provides for an amendment to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act, which the Federal Cabinet decided today. Small electrical appliances should be taken back in supermarkets regardless of whether they buy a new product. Larger old devices should be able to be handed in when a new item is purchased, for example as part of a campaign. With the extended take-back obligation for old electrical devices, the federal government wants to increase the collection rate and send more devices for high-quality recycling. Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze: “The prerequisite for environmentally friendly disposal of old electrical devices is improved collection. The more collection points we have, the fewer devices end up in the residual waste bin or are illegally marketed. A close-knit network of collection points gives us the opportunity to direct more used electrical equipment in the right direction and thus reliably discharge harmful substances and recover valuable raw materials. I want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to return old electrical appliances. You should be able to do this easily while doing the weekly shopping. ”In 2018, around 86 percent of the electrical appliances collected were recycled. However, not every old device was recycled because many devices end up in the residual waste, long-lasting devices are still in use or, above all, small devices are forgotten and stored in drawers. So that more old devices get into the right hands for collection, treatment and finally recycling, the federal government is extending the take-back obligations that already exist for dealers of electrical devices to discounters, supermarkets and other food retailers. The prerequisite is that their shop space is larger than 800 square meters and that they themselves offer electrical appliances several times a year. In the future, it should also be possible to hand in old electrical appliances with an edge length of up to 25 cm. This rule applies regardless of whether an item has been purchased and also for products that were not previously purchased in this store or the chain. Anything larger than 25 cm can only be sold in the grocery store if a comparable product is bought there, for example as part of a campaign Actively offer free collection and disposal of old devices. In addition, operators of electronic marketplaces and fulfillment service providers should check in future whether the manufacturers of the products that are sold on their platform are registered with Stiftung ear. No manufacturer should have access to the market who evades his obligations. This is important in order to enforce the manufacturer’s obligations under the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act. And it should avoid competitive disadvantages for manufacturers who behave in accordance with the law. The draft law has to be passed by the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. The aim is to complete the legislative procedure and the procedure for the treatment ordinance before the summer break of 2021. The law and ordinance should come into force on January 1, 2022. In addition to the improved collection, the Federal Government wants to ensure that the separately collected old devices are recycled to a high quality and pollutants are increasingly discharged from the material cycle. To this end, the BMU has presented a draft treatment ordinance. The treatment ordinance will not be introduced into the cabinet until 2021. With the new rules from this ordinance, more pollutants should be discharged much earlier in the treatment process and the recycling result should be improved. For the first time, photovoltaic modules are also recorded and rules for their recycling are established.

16.12.2020 | Press release No. 232/20 | Waste management

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