Businesses which manufacture, distribute or export passive electronics to German markets will be obliged to comply with updated WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) laws, or will face fines of up to €100,000 after May 1 this year.
According to Lorax Compliance, which delivers environmental compliance software, passive devices such as cables, sockets, plugs, switches, aerials and busbars will be subject to Germany’s ElektroG Act.
Passive products, which are defined as components that cannot provide power or control current flow in a circuit, must be reported and registered with Germany’s Stiftung EAR by the May deadline. With some registrations taking up to 12 weeks, businesses affected by the amendments must act now to avoid unnecessary fines.
Michelle Carvell, COO of Lorax Compliance, explained that manufacturers, distributors or importers of passive equipment must review their products as a matter of urgency to check if they qualify as EEE.
“If your reporting hasn’t adjusted to Germany’s amended ElectroG Act, you could be subject to fines as high as €100,000,” said Carvell. “This can be a lengthy process without the right expertise, so any business affected should seek support now before the May deadline.”
Amended to ensure the country’s ambitious new recycling targets are met, the ElektroG Act will now harmonise Germany with other European nations that already include passive electronics within their WEEE laws.
The updated interpretation only affects appliances that are designed to be used at AC voltages of no more than 1000 volts or DC voltages of no more than 1500 volts, such as ready-made extension cords, light switches and wall sockets. Cables sold by the metre, wire-end sleeves and other similar components are not subject to the EleKtroG.
Implemented in Germany on March 24, 2005, the ElektroG Act requires manufacturers, distributors and importers of specified electrical equipment to either cover the cost of disposal for any products they place on the market, or register products with Germany’s free take-back scheme - Stiftung EAR, which coordinates the provision of the WEEE initiative through the collection of old equipment from public waste disposal authorities.
“The interpretation changes to Germany’s EleKtroG Act underline the need for businesses operating in the EU to stay vigilant around compliance and WEEE laws,” added Carvell. “High fees are being introduced across Europe, as are changes to various national schemes, and businesses need to be aware of their obligations to avoid high costs or reputational damage. Environmental reporting and compliance is highly complex, and we therefore urge businesses to get in touch if they need help, support and advice.”
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