Legal background: Germany’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG)
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (WEEE Directive) came into force in Germany on 24th March 2005. It transposes the European WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC into national law and governs the sale, return and disposal of electrical and electronic equipment. The aim of the WEEE Directive is to increase the percentage of electrical appliances taken back in the end of their life in order to protect the environment. The law requires manufacturers, distributors or importers of electrical equipment to contribute to the cost of disposing it (extended producer responsibility or responsibility for taking back and disposing of electrical appliances). For this purpose the Federal Environment Agency (German: “Umweltbundesamt”) set up stiftung ear. Before they start to sell their products, manufacturers are obliged to register at stiftung ear and apply for a WEEE number.