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  • Dear Readers!

    The refugee crisis, caused by the war in Syria, has awakened Europe from a deep slumber. Individual member states are outdoing each other – introducing one uncoordinated measure after another as they attempt to stem the seemingly never-ending flow of people desperately seeking help. Whilst Chancellor Merkel is hoping to bring about a European solution, others are closing their borders and seriously thinking about exiting the European Union. No matter where you look, people are saying the party is over. It is time now for facts rather than emotions to be brought to the table. Germany has around 81 million inhabitants and its economy has never been so good. Approximately one million refugees had entered the country when the state elections were held in Baden-Württemberg, Saxony-Anhalt and Rhineland-Pfalz on 13 March. To use the same metaphor: if 81 people are invited to a party and they are joined by one international guest, then the party is by no means over. On the contrary, there is a great opportunity here for the new guest’s culture, experience and vitality to enhance the event and make it even more interesting. 

    As Germany’s population continues to fall, demographers are assuming that the country will need around 500,000 new immigrants every year simply to keep its social security system functioning. In the future, therefore, we may find ourselves being grateful each time a migrant decides to stay and do an apprenticeship in our country. What is needed is genuine integration. The Minister for Labour, Social Affairs and Inclusion in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rainer Schmeltzer, recently published a brochure in four languages so that refugees could find out how the public transport system works in the district of Unna. Whilst talking to one of REMONDIS’ board members, he called on the recycling sector to do something similar. The majority of the migrants have little or no experience of using different coloured bins to separate waste. REMONDIS has stepped up to the mark and published a flyer in German, English, French, Farsi and Arabic. We would also be very pleased to receive applications from registered refugees wishing to do an apprenticeship at our company, for example to become a professional truck driver. 

    If the state of North Rhine-Westphalia were to be a country in its own right, then it would be among the top 10 European nations when it comes to population figures and economic power. The latest waste management report shows that our industry has become one of the biggest drivers of growth. Whilst traditional industries, such as coal, steel and energy, continue to decline, an ever increasing number of people are working in recycling, industrial and municipal services and water management. REMONDIS is both a driving force and the backbone of this really pleasing development. And what makes REMONDIS what it is, is its 32,000 employees who work for their local inhabitants and their municipal and industrial customers in 33 countries every single day. Looking at all this, it is a shame that politicians would appear to be paying so little attention to the IFAT exhibition which is being held in Munich from 30 May to 03 June. REMONDIS is going to be there even if the Federal Minister of the Environment is not. We look forward to seeing you there!


    Ludger Rethmann

Taking back WEEE in line with the ‘ElektroG2’

  • 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.

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An economically & environmentally sustainable solution

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

Greater responsibility for retailers

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.

A nationwide system of collection points now needed

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.

A full package of services

“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.

The same regulations across the whole of Europe

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.

A collaboration of experts

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.

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