In order to ensure that the ‘ElektroG’ was and continues to be implemented efficiently, producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) set up the ‘Stiftung Elektro-Altgeräte-Register’ – commonly referred to as the ‘stiftung ear’ – which acts as a coordination centre. Since 2005, EEE may only be distributed on the market in Germany, if it has been registered at the stiftung ear. Producers of household EEE (B2C) must also provide a guarantee that, in the case of insolvency, their equipment will still be recovered and recycled.
One key aspect of this German law is that producers and local authorities share the responsibility for all EEE that falls in the B2C category.
Local authorities are responsible for collecting old B2C appliances and this service must be free of charge for their local residents. The majority of local authorities have set up municipal collection points (e.g. household recycling centres) or recycling banks in residential areas.
Producers are responsible for providing the recycling centres with suitable containers for storing the returned appliances as well as for picking up, transporting and recycling the WEEE collected from these centres – services which they can commission waste management and recycling businesses to carry out on their behalf.
Retailers can also voluntarily take back old appliances from private consumers.
If producers wish to place EEE on the market that is intended for commercial use, then they must put forward a plausible argument proving this is the case when they register the products.
Acting as the main hub of the system, the stiftung ear coordinates the supply of skips and containers to the municipal recycling centres across the whole of Germany and – first and foremost – the collection of the containers when they are full:
The algorithm used to determine who must pick the WEEE up is based on the volumes of EEE placed on the market (monthly input reports) and the number of containers each producer has already picked up (output reports)