The German Bundestag is expected to pass a ‘batteries collection’ bill in September intended to level the playing field and introduce new requirements from the Waste Framework Directive.
The German cabinet has drafted changes to the German Batteries Act and the German Federal Council has, with changes, approved the amendment, which became necessary because the system of battery collection was no longer sustainable.
The legal structure placed an unfair burden on Europe’s largest battery collection scheme, which is run by the GRS Batterien Foundation on a non-profit basis.
The changes will require companies placing batteries on the German market to make changes to their supply-chain activities including: a mandatory registration to set up or join a manufacturers’ take-back scheme and registering with Stiftung elektro-altgeräte register (Stiftung EAR)the German Clearing House according to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) Act.
The new act will also require anyone placing batteries on the German market to register.
The Batteries Act applies to manufacturers, importers, authorised representatives of non-EU-based producers and includes distributors and resellers of products that have not previously been registered.
The electronic database maintained by Stiftung EAR will be extended to allow for the registration of battery manufacturers while companies that are already registered as manufacturers of EEE may amend their registration to cover batteries
In the case of non-EU manufacturers an authorised representative must be appointed.
Many manufacturers set up their own take-back schemes when the existing collection scheme became financially unattractive. These schemes may include multiple manufacturers and must be approved by the competent authority.
Under the new act distributors and resellers will become responsible for any non-compliance of batteries they market if they have not previously been registered.
There are certain minimum requirements for companies operating the new schemes, including having the financial and organisational means to meet the take-back obligations under the amended Batteries Act.