Disposal of electronic waste

In order to reduce environmental pollution, the EU adopted the WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC on the placing on the market, return and environmentally sound disposal of electrical and electronic equipment and the RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment in 2003. In Germany, these two directives were implemented into national law as part of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG).

  • Directive 2002/96/EC (WEEE - Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment)
  • Directive 2002/95/EC (RoHS - Restriction of certain Hazardous Substances)
  • Directive ElektroG (Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act)

Accordingly, since 24 March 2006, German manufacturers, importers and first distributors have been obliged to take back old devices free of charge in accordance with WEEE and to dispose of or recycle them in an environmentally friendly manner in accordance with specified standards.

Since July 1, 2006, according to RoHS, certain substances classified as critical may no longer be contained in electrical and electronic devices or may only be contained within a very low limit (only a few exceptions apply). The substances are: lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl, polybrominated diphenyl ether and cadmium.

Electrical and electronic devices that fall under the guidelines of the law may no longer be disposed of in normal household or residual waste, but must be disposed of as hazardous waste or at a recycling center . You can recognize these devices by the label with a crossed-out garbage can.


The costs for collection and environmentally friendly disposal or recycling are borne by the manufacturers, importers and municipalities. It is free of charge for you as the end consumer.