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REMONDIS Electrorecycling has joined forces with Elektro-Geräte Recycling GmbH (EGR) and will soon be offering shops and online retailers a new take-back scheme: 'WEEE Return'. The partners decided to set up this service in response to the amendments made to the ‘ElektroG’ law (German waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations) that came into force on 24 October 2015.
This amended law, the so-called ‘ElektroG2’, regulates how electrical and electronic equipment may be distributed on the market, how it must be taken back and what steps must be taken to ensure it is recycled using environmentally sound methods. These latest changes are causing quite a headache for online retailers. How, in practice, can they fulfil their legal obligations and take back unwanted or broken electrical appliances? The transitional period has not finished yet but – as of 24 July 2016 – they and all other retailers must take back WEEE and ensure it is transported and recycled properly. Two well-known international WEEE recycling specialists, REMONDIS and EGR, have stepped up to the mark and are offering them sustainable, cost-effective and easy-to-implement solutions.
“WEEE Return helps retailers to fulfil their new legal responsibilities and offers a wide range of support – from IT matters, to providing suitable container systems, to collecting, transporting and recycling the appliances, all the way through to compiling reports.”
Gerhard Jokic, Managing Director at REMONDIS and Head of the 'WEEE Return' project
Up to now, product responsibility – and consequently the obligation to take back electrical and electronic equipment at the end of their useful lives – has primarily lain with producers and importers. The ‘ElektroG2’, however, has extended this obligation to include retailers in order to increase collection rates.
From 24.07.2016 onwards, every shop with an electrical and electronic equipment sales area greater than 400m² and every online retailer with an electrical and electronic equipment storage/dispatch area greater than 400m² must take back small WEEE (less than 25cm on their longest side) – irrespective of whether the customer purchases a new appliance from their shop or not. The following regulation applies for larger appliances: retailers must take back waste of the same type as the item their customers buy from them and ensure it is recycled properly.
In the future, therefore, practically all electrical stores and department stores will have to set up various different containers for collecting and storing the different categories of WEEE. At the same time, the law stipulates that online retailers must make it possible for their customers to hand in their old appliances at a place within a reasonable distance. There may be a little room here for interpretation but what is clear is that a national network of collection points will have to be set up parallel to the recycling centres already being run by local authorities.
The legislator has decreed that online retailers must take back old electrical and electronic appliances from July 2016 onwards.
“Retailers – and especially those running online and mail order businesses – will need a high level of IT support and many specialist processes to implement these new regulations,” explained Gerhard Jokic, a managing director at REMONDIS and head of the 'WEEE Return' project. “This is precisely what we will be offering them with our WEEE Return scheme. Our services range from transporting the wide range of container systems, to ensuring the WEEE is sent for high quality recycling, all the way through to compiling the reports – supported by a user-friendly, web-based platform to fulfil the various registration and notification obligations as well as to control and monitor the material streams.” The portfolio is rounded off with a number of additional services for the retailers, such as handling all registration obligations with the ‘Stiftung EAR’ (the national coordination centre), helping to reduce their customers’ admin work.
With the ‘ElektroG2’ now in force, Germany is one of the last member states to transpose the EU WEEE Directive into national law. The same rights and obligations, therefore, can be found across all 28 EU states, although each country has transposed them slightly differently. This means, among other things, that online and mail order retailers must have someone in place to handle all queries and fulfil all obligations on their behalf in every EU country in which they sell their products, if they do not have a branch there. Not a problem for WEEE Return members, as those running WEEE Return have long-standing business relationships, reliable cooperation partners and their own network of branches.
Experience is needed to offer a full range of services. REMONDIS and EGR have joined forces to support their customers.
This full range of services is being provided by the experienced recycling specialists REMONDIS and EGR, whose areas of expertise complement each other perfectly. REMONDIS operates WEEE dismantling centres at a number of locations in Europe to recover valuable raw materials – including copper, aluminium and non-ferrous metals. At the same time, they use complex processes to safely remove all hazardous materials found in the appliances and then send these substances on to be disposed of in a safe and environmentally sound manner. Being part of the global dataserv Group, EGR can guarantee high recycling rates at ‘WEEE Return’ when it comes to IT appliances. This group successfully markets used smartphones, PCs, tablets and laptops after the devices have been restored to their original factory settings. Before such devices are remarketed, all personal data is wiped from the appliance using accredited procedures and in line with the strictest security standards.