WEEE number: Registration with Stiftung EAR
Legal foundations, duties, areas of application, application and WEEE register
Legal foundations, duties, areas of application, application and WEEE register
Table of Contents
According to the Electrical Act (ElektroG), every manufacturer or retailer who intends to place electrical and electronic equipment on the market in Germany for the first time is required to have himself registered with Stiftung EAR beforehand. Every registration is done by stating the brand and type of equipment of the equipment to be distributed in each case.
If the registration is successful, the registered party is allocated a distinct WEEE registration number (also called WEEE reg number or WEEE number). Other brands and/or types of equipment can subsequently be registered under the same WEEE number.
Anyone who trades in products is subject to binding disposal and recycling duties, non-compliance with which can lead to considerable sanctions and warnings
The problem: many retailers are not aware of their obligations. But only someone who acts with legal certainty is safe from unplanned costs and fines.
The WEEE number is a manufacturer’s number that is issued to the initial placers on the market of electrical/electronic equipment after successful registration with Stiftung EAR. It is made up of a country code and an 8-digit series of numbers (e.g., “WEEE reg No. DE 12345678”). Manufacturers according to the Electrical Act must quote their WEEE number: when selling products and on invoices.
The basis for EAR registration is the WEEE directive that applies in Europe, which has been transposed into German law by the Electrical Act (ElektroG). The directive governs the sale, and the return and proper disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment within the European currency area. The abbreviation WEEE stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment.
The WEEE Register at Stiftung EAR
The Electrical Act applicable in Germany provides for all manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment who intend to distribute their products on the German market to be registered with Stiftung Elektro-Altgeräte Register (Stiftung EAR). This is designed to ensure that all distributors of electrical equipment meet their product responsibility and accept the return of the waste electrical equipment that they placed on the market. This results in a publicly available WEEE Register. This WEEE creates transparency for third parties and entails the risk of a warning under the Electrical Act. This is how the market regulates itself.
Without prior registration with Stiftung EAR and a corresponding WEEE number you are not entitled to place electrical equipment on the market in Germany. Consequently, a WEEE number is mandatory for every manufacturer according to Article 3 para. 1 Electrical Act.
Only someone with a branch in Germany can be registered with Stiftung EAR and thus receive a WEEE number. Anyone acting from abroad, however, can appoint a WEEE representative in Germany who will take care of registration on their behalf.
According to Article 3 para. 1 Electrical Act, a manufacturer is any natural or legal person who sells electrical or electronic equipment under his own name or brand in Germany. Moreover, a (quasi) manufacturer is someone who offers electrical or electronic equipment for the first time in Germany (for example, importers) or sells it directly to end users in Germany via telecommunications technology and has his headquarters in another member state of the EU or in a third country (for example, online shops).
According to the Electrical Act, therefore, a manufacturer is any natural or legal person who
Attention: Moreover, any distributor who deliberately or with gross negligence offers new electrical or electronic equipment for sale that comes from manufacturers that are not registered or not properly registered, or from their representatives, is also deemed to be a manufacturer.
Once a manufacturer registers with Stiftung EAR for the first time, he receives his WEEE registration number if the registration was successful. This is a sort of user or customer number that can also be used for subsequent product registrations. The number is made up of:
According to Article 6 para. 9 the manufacturers must from then on quote their WEEE number on invoices and when selling products.
Since Stiftung EAR is the official list of all registered electrical manufacturers (or their representatives) in Germany, all manufacturers can be viewed in the database online. For example, you can search there using the manufacturer’s name or his WEEE number. In this way, it is easier to check whether the WEEE directive is actually being implemented at national level. Even though the WEEE number usually always stays the same, every type of equipment or every new brand of a manufacturer has to be registered separately with Stiftung EAR. If there is any doubt, however, there is also the option to revoke a registration that has already been granted.
Whereas the WEEE directive is implemented in Germany by the Electrical Act (ElektroG), separate national laws apply in other EU countries. Although they are also based on the WEEE directive, there is no central registration point in the EU. Consequently, there are also no uniform WEEE numbers. Manufacturers therefore have to meet their WEEE No. obligation in every country separately and register separately with the relevant registration authorities.
In spite of the uniform directive, registration and categorisation and the return of electrical and electronic equipment is sometimes treated very differently in other European countries. For example, in some countries additional or different product/sub-categories applies from in Germany – in spite of the change to Open Scope in 2018. Manufacturers and retailers should therefore consider working together with a partner to ensure WEEE conformity all over Europe and the whole of the world.
Where the registration of electrical equipment within the context of the WEEE directive is concerned, it is irrelevant whether B2B (commercially used) or B2C (privately used) equipment are concerned, although the conditions for B2C equipment are much more stringent. For example, manufacturers who sell directly to end consumers are required to present insolvency-proof guarantees, for example.
It is essential to take care of registration of your equipment and to apply for the WEEE registration number at an early stage. After all, you cannot place equipment on the market until the result of your WEEE registration with Stiftung EAR is positive. The registration process usually involves several stages:
If you are not 100% certain whether equipment offered by you is subject to mandatory registration within the meaning of the ElektroG, you can send a “request for a decision” to Stiftung EAR in advance. For this, in addition to a user account and a detailed product description, you also need a brief justification for your doubts. You will then be given binding confirmation about whether you have to register your equipment or not.
To ensure that the WEEE registration of your electrical/electronic equipment goes smoothly and you can soon start to sell your products, Deutsche Recycling will be by your side during the entire registration process as an expert and reliable partner. Find out more now!
Although just registering a product (or applying for a WEEE registration number) costs only € 191.50 per manufacturer, brand and equipment type, more costs can be incurred on top of this, such as:
The question as to how high the costs for the entire registration process will be in an individual case cannot therefore be answered in general terms, but rather it depends on the manufacturer concerned and the individual situation.
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Are you a manufacturer or importer of electrical equipment in Germany? Then you are subject to the German Electrical Act (ElektroG) when selling your goods. Stiftung EAR is responsible for implementation of the WEEE directive in Germany.
Are you a provider or manufacturer of electrical equipment from abroad and would you like to sell your products on the German market? Then you are also subject to the German Electrical Act (ElektroG). Stiftung EAR is responsible in Germany for the sale of electrical equipment and the proper disposal of electrical scrap.
Are you a manufacturer or retailer or electrical equipment and do you offer your products on various international markets? Then the international WEEE directive applies to the distribution and disposal of your electrical equipment, which is implemented by various national laws depending on the country – such as the Electrical Act (ElektroG) in Germany. You are therefore subject to the relevant applicable national regulations.