WEEE recast in Germany comes into force – how UK producers may be impacted

Following our previous news article at the end of July this year, the long awaited recast of the WEEE directive (WEEE II) has finally been fully transposed in Germany and is now in force as of 24 October 2015.

Germany is one of seven countries that missed the original transposition deadline of 14 February 2014 set by the European Commission, and faced fines of several million euros per month due to the delay in transposing WEEE II into national law.

In the UK, the legislation has been in force since 1 January 2014, however the transposition of WEEE II differs from country to country and Germany is no exception.

Does your company need to take action?

If you offer delivery or sell directly to customers in Germany from the UK, and do not have a legal presence there, then you need to review your current compliance set up for this country.

Changes to the legislation will impact new producers, as well producers currently registered for WEEE in Germany.

Below we summarise four things UK producers selling electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) into Germany should know:

1. Changes to obligations: UK producers selling or offering delivery to Germany

If you sell EEE via an online store direct to customers in Germany, you could be obligated as a producer there. More importantly however, the actual sale of an item is not the only deciding factor for obligation – even if you only offer delivery to Germany, you could also be obligated to register.

This is because by German law, if obligated, you may not sell EEE to Germany unless you are registered with the German “clearing house” EAR first.

Registration as a producer with EAR is a lengthy affair, and requires “approval” of brands you sell and their applicable WEEE categories – this can take up to 12 weeks.

2. Changes to registration: UK producers obligated in Germany without a German branch or registered office

In a crucial change to the system, if you are currently registered with EAR as a UK based producer and do not have a legal base in Germany, your registration with the German clearing house is now technically invalid as of 24 October 2015.

You must appoint an Authorised Representative (AR) to fulfil producer obligations on your behalf within six months of the law coming into force (see “important deadlines” below). The same applies to UK producers not currently registered that sell or offer delivery to Germany.

Note that unlike foreign producers already registered with EAR, new producers must appoint an AR now before they may register, and do not benefit from an extra six months to do so.

3. Changes to scope, fees, categories and financial guarantees

WEEE II in Germany will bring a number of changes to the existing scope and reporting of products.

Night storage heaters, PV modules and luminaires in private households (excl. LED) will move into scope, and the reporting categories of lamps and luminaires will be newly assessed.

For producers of B2C equipment that are required to provide a financial guarantee in case of insolvency, certain types of guarantee will no longer be accepted.

New fees are applicable for the administration of registration (brand, producer and category), financial guarantees and waste management notifications.

Finally, there are extended requirements for consumer information and waste takeback that will affect all large distributors, resellers and retailers, including those that offer goods online.

4. Important deadlines

24 January 2016
By this date Producers and distributors of PV modules and luminaires in private households must register with EAR, or request an extension to their current registration.

Producers and distributors that currently takeback waste on a voluntary basis, must register their takeback sites with EAR.

24 April 2016
Currently registered companies without a legal base in Germany must have opened a German branch or appointed a German based Authorised Representative.

24 July 2016
Large distributors, resellers and retailers (including online) must start to take back waste from customers, and register their take back facilities with EAR.

How can ecosurety help?

We can offer consultancy to help producers understand their requirements in a number of member states. If required, we also interact directly with national WEEE registers, to confirm producer obligations.

For Germany, we can provide you with a list of Authorised Representatives, as well as offering assistance and training in data submissions, registration and regulatory monitoring.

Simply get in touch with the ecosurety team for more details.

Fran Witthuhn

International compliance product manager

Fran works within the compliance team as our international compliance product manager, joining us in the spring of 2015. She brings a wealth of experience to the role having previously work for Apple in Ireland for six years, looking after the company’s WEEE, battery and packaging submissions across Europe. Needless to say she has gained extensive knowledge of European legislation!

Written by Fran Witthuhn Published 28/10/2015 Topics Compliance

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