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Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG)

Additional requirements for electrical products: Environmental protection, recycling and disposal

In addition to technical safety, legislators also have environmental aspects in electrical equipment. The obligations for manufacturers, importers and consumers are regulated in the ElektroG. We have summarised here for you important facts.

The Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act passed in 2015 regulates the placing on the market, the taking back and recycling as well as the environmentally acceptable disposal of electrical and electronic equipment.
The law must guarantee

  • that electrical and electronic equipment is designed to be less pollutive;
  • that electrical waste and electronic waste are avoided as much as possible, or reduced by reuse and recycling;
  • that non-recyclable, residual waste is disposed of in an environmentally compatible manner.

The law is applied to the following groups of electrical and electronic devices for the operating voltages up to 1000 V AC and 1500 V DC (§ 2 (1), Annex I):

Table 1: Groups of devices to which the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act applies.
CategoryElectrical and electronic devicesExamples
1Large household appliancesRefrigerators, freezers, electric hotplates, air conditioners
2Small household appliancesVacuum cleaner, toaster, fryers, electric knives
3IT- and telecommunication devicesMainframes, computers, laptops, printers, photocopiers
4Devices of entertainment electronicsRadio devices, TV sets, video cameras, musical instruments
5Lighting fixturesrod-shaped fluorescent lamps, compact fluorescent lamps
6Electrical and electronic tools (except large stationary industrial tools)Drilling machines, sewing machines, welding and soldering tools
7Toys as well as sports and recreational equipmentElectric railways or patrols, video games, money-playing machines
8Medical equipment (except for all implanted and infected products)Dialysis machines, respirators, analysers, freezers
9Monitoring and control instrumentsSmoke detectors, heating controllers, thermostats
10Automatic dispensersAutomatic hot drink dispensers, cash machines, vending machines for solid products

This does not include equipment which "serves the preservation of the essential security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany or is specifically intended for military purposes".

Obligations for manufacturers and importers

The manufacturers, importers and resellers are obliged to construct the devices in such a way (§ 4 - product conception) that disassembly, recycling and reuse are facilitated. They must also provide the recovery facilities with information on the exploitation possibilities for each new type of device placed on the market.

It is also required that the products placed on the market for the first time after 13 August 2005 should be permanently marked so that the manufacturer can be clearly identified. It must also be recognised that the device was placed on the market after 13 August 2005. In addition, the equipment must be marked with the symbol "not to be disposed of in the refuse bin" (a stricken-through garbage bin) if the equipment can be used in private households.

Manufacturers and/or importers must (§ 6):

  • be registered. When registering, it must be ensured that the disposal of equipment from private households is financially secured in case of insolvency;
  • finance and take charge of the disposal of the devices which were placed on the market after 13 August 2005. The owner is responsible for the devices already on the market before 13 August 2005. Deviating agreements are possible in both cases.

ElektroG implements European directives

The "Law on the placing on the market, the withdrawal and the environmentally acceptable disposal of electrical and electronic devices" (Act on electrical and electronical devices), implements simultaneously two European directives into German law:

  • the EU Directive 2002/96/EC (WEEE) on waste electrical and electronic equipment,
  • and the EU Directive 2002/95/EC (RoHS) on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

The directives 2002/96/EC and 2002/95/EC have been replaced by the directives 2012/19/EU (WEEE) and 2011/65/EC (RoHS) and at the same time, the ElektroG was amended. The regulations of the RoHS directive were implemented in a separate regulation, the Electrical and electronic equipment substance regulation (ElektroStoffV), based on the future regulatory scope. The corresponding regulations in the ElektroG were abolished.