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Dispose of electronic waste
Dispose of electronic waste

Video: Dispose of electronic waste

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Video: How to dispose your electronic waste the right way 2023, January
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Who does not know that? The fridge is broken, the smartphone is broken. Electronic waste is generated in every household - in bulk. But what to do with the electrical and electronic products? We reveal what possibilities there are and how the disposal can be carried out professionally and above all in an environmentally friendly manner.

Table of contents Table of contents Dispose of electronic waste correctly

  • What is electronic waste?
  • How is the disposal of electronic waste regulated by law?
  • Return old devices to the dealer
  • Dispose of electronic waste in bulky waste
  • Batteries and accumulators belong in collection boxes
  • Old devices that still work do not count towards electrical waste

Table of contents Table of contents Dispose of electronic waste correctly

  • What is electronic waste?
  • How is the disposal of electronic waste regulated by law?
  • Return old devices to the dealer
  • Dispose of electronic waste in bulky waste
  • Batteries and accumulators belong in collection boxes
  • Old devices that still work do not count towards electrical waste

Only about 45 percent of the almost two million tons of electronic waste in Germany are disposed of properly - according to the law, it should be at least 65 percent! This means that valuable metals such as gold, platinum or copper, which are contained in the devices, end up on the rubbish, while at the same time toxic ingredients such as mercury, lead or cadmium are released when not disposed of properly and pose a risk to our health and health Represent the environment.

Disused, defective devices often end up buried deep in the boxes of storage rooms and cellars or are thrown into the garbage can. In addition to the regional collection points, there are also attractive take-back offers that should make us dispose of our electronic waste properly: Since July 24, 2016, manufacturers (stationary and online) of electrical and electronic devices have even been obliged to take back the broken products.

What is electronic waste?

Electronic waste means all defective devices that are operated by electricity or by means of a rechargeable battery (including batteries), but also those that produce their own electricity. There are many toxic, but also valuable raw materials in the old devices. Proper disposal removes pollutants and recyclable components are recycled.

Since August 15, 2018, appliances with permanently installed electrical or electronic elements have also been included in electrical waste, including shoes with lights on the sole or electrically height-adjustable armchairs. Even if the product itself is still functional, it is considered electronic waste.

The situation is different with devices in which the electrical or electronic parts are “removable” - such as with a dynamo on a bicycle. Only he (and not the entire bike) falls under the category of “electronic waste” and must be disposed of at the recycling center or returned to the dealer.

Since May 1, 2019, all passive devices have also been considered electrical or electronic devices and must be disposed of accordingly. Examples of this are sockets, cables, adapters or light switches, i.e. devices through which electricity only flows.

The Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (see below) differentiates bulky old devices (refrigerator, washing machine, television) from small electrical devices that have a maximum edge length of 25 centimeters. This includes, for example, cell phones, blow dryers, toasters or electric toothbrushes.

Elektromüll
Elektromüll

Due to the short useful life and the constantly new electrical devices on the market, around 50 million tons of electrical waste are generated every year - worldwide.

Photo: iStock / Geo-grafika

How is the disposal of electronic waste regulated by law?

The Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG) regulates "placing on the market, taking back and environmentally friendly disposal of electrical and electronic equipment" (as of October 20, 2015). Its goals are to protect health and the environment from pollutants from electrical and electronic products, to protect natural resources and to minimize the amount of waste by reprocessing or recycling.

The ElektroG obliges consumers not to dispose of their electronic waste in household waste. On newer devices, this guideline is identified by the symbol of a crossed-out garbage can. Consumers have several options for getting rid of discarded devices - we will introduce them in detail.

Return old devices to the dealer

According to the ElektroG, manufacturers and distributors must take back defective electrical equipment free of charge and dispose of it properly - both stationary and online retailers. Provided that they have a sales area of ​​at least 400 square meters (brick-and-mortar retail) or an equally large storage and shipping area (online retail). The following special regulations apply:

  • Small electrical appliances must be taken back by the dealer free of charge. The dealers set up collection bins for this.
  • Large electrical appliances must be taken back by the dealer free of charge when exchanged for a new appliance of the same category (i.e. tumble dryer for tumble dryer). This also applies if the device is delivered to your door: as soon as you enter into a contract with the dealer, inform them that you are also submitting an old device when it is delivered. While this offer is always free of charge in direct trading, online retailers may be able to charge a fee for disposal.

Dispose of electronic waste in bulky waste

Bulky, disused electrical equipment can be registered for bulky waste and collected. Tell the community environmental agency which and how much equipment you need to dispose of. In principle, you may not register more than three devices of one type. Every household can have their bulky waste collected once or twice a year free of charge.

Alternatively, you can hand in your electronic waste yourself at the municipal recycling center. The service is free and the courtyards usually accept all types of electrical waste. However, there are exceptions here, so we recommend that you find out beforehand on the website of your municipality. To find the nearest recycling center, you can use the service on the following website: https://www.elektroschrott.de/wertstoffhoefe/. In addition to the address, you will also find phone numbers and opening hours here.

Batteries and accumulators belong in collection boxes

In order to properly dispose of batteries and accumulators, take them out of the electrical devices and throw them in collection boxes, such as those found in drugstores or supermarkets. These boxes are usually located near the cash register. The little practical helpers are kept there until they are recycled.

Batterien
Batterien

There are special collection boxes for the disposal of batteries, which are also considered electronic waste.

Photo: iStock / Leonid Eremeychuk

Old devices that still work do not count towards electrical waste

Does it really always have to be the latest smartphone? The IT and consumer electronics market is constantly flooded with new products. A PC is only used for an average of three years. Think about the environment and think carefully about whether working old devices really need to be replaced with new ones immediately. They do not count as electronic waste while they are still working and the constant new purchases are very harmful to the environment.

Our tip at this point: Sell, donate or repair old technology devices! There are numerous platforms on the Internet through which you can sell your old devices (Ebay, reBuy, gebraucht.de) or donate to a good cause. Social department stores or second-hand shops are also a good point of contact, as the devices benefit someone here again and are still used. Plus: There are stores in every city that repair cell phones for little money and keep them going for a few more years.

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