German Batteries Act 2021 (BattG2): These are the most important changes for manufacturers and distributors of disposable and rechargeable batteries
Table of contents
- What role does stiftung ear play in the new Batteries Act (BattG2) from 2021?
- What exactly does the involvement of stiftung ear mean for manufacturers?
- National obligations as a result of the new Batteries Act (BattG2) from 2021 at a glance
- Do manufacturers from abroad require an authorised representative due to the new Batteries Act 2021?
- Registration: costs and duration
- Important: bear in mind the regulations in other countries
- New Batteries Act 2021 (BattG2): Why was it introduced?
- BattG2: Amendments for take-back systems due to the new Batteries Act from 2021
The Batteries Act (BattG) has governed the disposal of used disposable and rechargeable batteries in Germany since 2009. The revised version, the new Batteries Act (BattG2), came into force on 1st January 2021. This has brought several changes with it. The most important change for manufacturers and distributors is the introduction of compulsory registration: those who want to bring batteries onto the market in Germany have had to register with stiftung elektro-altgeräte register (stiftung ear) since 1st January 2021. This registration replaces the previous obligation to report market participation to the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA).
The new Batteries Act from 2021 and the changes that come with it mainly affect those who are bringing batteries onto the market in Germany on a commercial basis for the first time. These are generally battery manufacturers and distributors who are importing the batteries or sending them to Germany from abroad. Furthermore, distributors or intermediaries offering batteries from manufacturers who or whose authorised representatives are not (properly) registered are also considered to be manufacturers within the meaning of the Batteries Act.
The new Batteries Act (BattG2) came into force on 1st January 2021. It grants stiftung elektro-altgeräte register (stiftung ear) extensive responsibilities. However, a distinction must be made here: battery manufacturers who have fully reported their market participation to the German Environment Agency (UBA) in accordance with the previous regulations benefit from a transitional period. Registration with stiftung ear only becomes mandatory for them from 01.01.2022 – provided that they have submitted their details to UBA correctly by 31.12.2020. However, if you bring any new brands or battery types onto the market during 2021, this transitional period no longer applies. All registrations must then take place immediately, even for products already reported to UBA. For everyone else, the fundamental rule is: from 01.01.2021, all manufacturers who are new to the market must register with stiftung ear.
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What role does stiftung ear play in the new Batteries Act (BattG2) from 2021?
As a result of the new Batteries Act, stiftung ear is taking on a crucial role in the disposal of not just electrical and electronic equipment, but also used disposable and rechargeable batteries. Its new duties include:
- Determining responsibility as a manufacturer
- Classifying disposable and rechargeable batteries
- Verifying and confirming the authorised representatives appointed by manufacturers (appointing an authorised representative is voluntary for foreign manufacturers)
- Verifying, granting and withdrawing approval for manufacturers’ own take-back systems
- Establishing a public register of registered manufacturers
- Inspecting collection and recycling rates for the manufacturers’ own take-back systems
What exactly does the involvement of stiftung ear mean for manufacturers?
According to the new Batteries Act, even those manufacturers already registered with the German Environment Agency’s (Umweltbundesamt, UBA) BattG register (BattG-Melderegister) will need to register with stiftung ear in 2021. Specifically, this means creating an account on the stiftung ear Internet portal and providing corresponding information there. Manufacturers who have saved their data in full with the German Environment Agency (UBA) by 31.12.2020 are excluded from this. They are subject to a transitional period until 01.01.2022.
According to BattG2, it is only permitted to market disposable and rechargeable batteries from 1st January 2021 following confirmed registration with stiftung ear, exactly like electrical equipment according to the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act. Those who already have an account as an electrical equipment manufacturer can also use this account to register as a battery manufacturer.
National obligations as a result of the new Batteries Act (BattG2) from 2021 at a glance:
- Manufacturers of disposable and rechargeable batteries who are bringing new brands/battery types onto the market: Registration with stiftung ear is only mandatory from 01.01.2021.
- Manufacturers of disposable and rechargeable batteries who have reported their brands/battery types in full before 01.01.2021: A transitional obligation applies here, meaning that registration with stiftung ear only needs to take place by 01.01.2022. The corresponding data must therefore be updated in the UBA’s BattG register (BattG-Melderegister) or entered for the first time by this date. However, if these manufacturers bring new brands or battery types onto the market from 2021 or would like to add missing information, they must do this with stiftung ear. If this is the case, the entire registration must be submitted to ear, even for the brands and battery types that were already reported to UBA.
- Manufacturers of disposable and rechargeable batteries who have not reported their brands and battery types in full before 01.01.2021: The transitional obligation does not apply to them. They must therefore also register with stiftung ear from 01.01.2021.
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Do manufacturers from abroad require an authorised representative due to the new Batteries Act 2021?
Unlike the registration of electrical equipment, it is also possible to submit an application from abroad. BattG2 has not changed anything in this regard. It is therefore not mandatory for manufacturers based abroad to appoint an authorised representative in Germany. However, from a financial and organisational viewpoint, it can be worthwhile to hand over responsibility and the fulfilment of obligations to an authorised service provider. We will be happy to advise and support you here!
Registration: costs and duration
Due to the involvement of stiftung ear in the registration process, this will certainly be more time-consuming than the previous system of reporting to the German Environment Agency. The comparable registration process for manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment takes between two and three months.
In addition, fees are charged for registering with stiftung ear, as shown in the fee schedule of the regulation on fees for the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Batteries Act: the registration costs 141.70 euros for each manufacturer, brand and battery type or for each authorised representative, represented manufacturer, brand and battery type.
Important: bear in mind the regulations in other countries
Registration with stiftung ear due to the new Batteries Act (BattG2) from 2021 does not release manufacturers from obligations that apply in other countries. Regulations similar to those in Germany also apply in the rest of the European Union and in many other countries around the world. E-commerce retailers who ship across borders are thus obliged to seek information about and fulfil the regulations that apply in the destination country so as to act in accordance with the law.
New Batteries Act 2021 (BattG2): Why was it introduced?
There are two reasons why the new Batteries Act (BattG2) has been drafted. In both cases, new framework conditions were created that required a political response. Firstly, as already mentioned, the previous joint take-back system of the GRS Batterien Foundation (Stiftung Gemeinsames Rücknahmesystem Batterien) became a manufacturer’s own take-back system on 1st January 2020. GRS had requested approval from the highest responsible state authority in Hamburg as it had complained about unfair competition.
Secondly, Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste has been in force since 4th July 2018. This also includes additional requirements on extended producer responsibility and must be implemented throughout Europe by 5th January 2023.
BattG2: Amendments for take-back systems due to the new Batteries Act from 2021
With the entry into force of BattG2, only take-back systems approved by stiftung ear are permitted to operate on the market. The manufacturers’ own take-back systems that have been operating to date need to undergo another examination by stiftung ear by the end of 2021 and appoint an expert for this. In addition, they must provide stiftung ear with regular evidence of compliance with collection and recycling rates.
Unlike before, the new Batteries Act (BattG2) from 2021 no longer distinguishes between the manufacturers’ own take-back systems and the GRS Batterien Foundation (Stiftung Gemeinsames Rücknahmesystem Batterien). Instead, BattG2 only refers to “take-back systems”. It thus takes into account the “transformation” of GRS into a manufacturer’s own take-back system: GRS has been on an equal footing to other take-back systems since 6th January 2020.
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