WEEE Registration 2021 – Germany & Europe
What you need to know about costs, import/export requirements and how to apply for a registration number
Anyone who manufactures or distributes electrical or electronic equipment in Germany has to interact with Stiftung EAR (Foundation for registration of electrical and old appliances) concerning the management of WEEE (Waste due to Electrical and Electronic Equipment) as soon as possible. Anyone who is deemed to be a manufacturer of electronic equipment as defined by the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG) must register with the Stiftung EAR before selling this kind of equipment in this country.
WEEE registration involves costs and is very complicated for the inexperienced!
WEEE registration 2021 – what should you watch out for?
Before you can offer electrical and electronic equipment, a financial guarantee must be deposited during the environmental registration of your products to make sure that the disposal of these goods is paid for even in case your company goes bankrupt. The following types of guarantees are available:
- Surety or guarantee from a credit institution or credit insurer
- Deposit of security with a local court
These so-called “manufacturers’ individual” guarantees mean that the manufacturer/ distributor or an authorized representative takes care of making the security deposits available on his/her own.
Alternatively, with a “collective guarantee”, a guarantee service provider can be commissioned to source and deliver the guarantees necessary for the WEEE registration.
Companies that do not have a legal domicile (such as a subsidiary) in Germany must name an authorized representative who will in turn provide this guarantee.
Declaration/report of the amount of goods placed in the market
Producers of electronic devices have the legal duty to report the amounts of electrical or electronic equipment put on the market each month as well as retroactively for the previous calendar year to the Stiftung EAR. In this way, their “market share” or participation of the equipment placed on the market can be determined.
For the WEEE registration of B2B equipment, an approximate estimate of the quantities sold or placed on the market for the registration period must be made. For distributors of B2B equipment, neither a financial guarantee nor participation in waste collection systems is required. Therefore, the quantity report can be corrected or updated without problems as part of the filing of statistical reports in the following year.
In 2021, the actual WEEE registration will be solely submitted electronically through the online portal of Stiftung EAR. The WEEE registration number generated during registration must be listed on invoices for the equipment or devices sold in Germany. Failure to use the number will result in a fine of up to 100000 €. Until the WEEE registration number is issued, the equipment may not be offered, sold or otherwise placed on the German market.
All electronic equipment must be clearly relatable to the company or entity placing it on the market by means of standardized labelling. The following information must be included in the labelling:
- Manufacturer of the device
- Notice that the appliance must not be disposed of in household waste (for B2C products). This can be represented by the symbol of a crossed-out dustbin
- Whether the device was manufactured before or after the year when the registration obligation was established
We sell products to wholesalers or distributors; do we need to have a B2B registration?
A common misunderstanding regarding the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act is the misclassification of equipment as B2B or B2C. The abbreviations do not describe the distribution channel per se, but the nature and typical location of use of a device. Thus, a device is only considered a B2B device if it can be used exclusively in a commercial or industrial environment. A good example is the dentist’s chair, which is only used in a (healthcare) commercial or business environment.
What are the costs of WEEE registration in 2021?
On January 1th 2021 an updated fee regulation for the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act and the Battery Act (ElektroGBattGGebV) came into force. In addition to the many rules to be observed under the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act, additional costs for registration, service provision, waste collection activities, sanctions and appeals of rejections will be incurred through higher fees. The Federal Environment Agency punishes violations of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act with fines that can significantly exceed even the amount of a regular warning letter under the German competition law.
Especially in international sales and e-commerce, the efforts and costs for environmental compliance are difficult to calculate for many businesses. Worldwide, 145 countries have laws and regulations on waste management. In some cases, these even differ from region to region, for example in the states of the USA.
Deutsche Recycling takes over the handling of all related obligations, thereby reducing the effort and costs for your company, avoiding possible penalties and warning notices, and responding to the constant changes in the legal or regulatory framework. Our team of experts looks forward to assisting you personally.
Questions about the costs of WEEE registration 2021
How frequently are the EAR fees due?
Fees for WEEE registration can be one-off or recurring. One-off fees are triggered by the initial registration as well as the registration of additional brands and/or types of devices. Only B2C producers will incur further charges thereafter. For example, the yearly levies for the renewal of the insolvency-proof warranty and for the collection, disposal and recycling tasks come due.
Can the customer be charged for the costs of taking back and recycling newly marketed products?
Disposal expenses can be shown separately on invoices to wholesalers/distributors (B2B trade flows). Traditionally, this is the case for the bulk trade in lamps. Meanwhile in B2C commerce, all costs must be incorporated in the sales price. Consequently, this leads to an increase in the final sales price.
WEEE Registration for Importers and Exporters
Companies that import electrical (or electronic) equipment into Germany with the aim of placing these devices on the market in this nation must not only adhere to the same obligations as manufacturers under the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act, but are also exposed to the same penalties (warning letters, fines, etc.) as said domestic equipment producers. It is irrelevant whether the goods come from within the EU or from a non-EU or overseas country of origin.
As a foreign manufacturer, it is advisable to appoint an authorized representative in Germany. A duly authorized agent acts on behalf of the manufacturer concerning the obligations listed under the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act.
If electrical appliances are exported commercially to other EU countries different from Germany, then these products do not fall within the scope of the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act. Since almost every country has its own laws regarding electrical waste, the challenge for manufacturers is how to deal with the wide variety of applicable e-waste laws across the EU and around the world. This is where a global expert in environmental compliance based in Europe like Deutsche Recycling can help your business and become your partner of choice.