Questions about the statutory provisions
- What is the "Elektrogesetz"?
Germany's Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (Elektronik und Elektronikgerätegesetz (ElektroG)) took effect March 24, 2005. The new legislation requires manufacturers and suppliers to take back old, so-called "end-of-life" equipment and devices and to recycle or dispose of them in accordance with set environmental standards. The aim is to re-use and recycle the materials as far as possible. Consumers are no longer allowed to throw away their old electrical or electronic equipment in their household trash. Instead they must take it to the designated municipal collection points. Manufacturers have the option of making this even more convenient for their customers by using ELECTRORETURN, Deutsche Post's new take-back service for the collection of electric and electronic equipment and devices.
- Why are retailers/distributors included in the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act?
According to the so-called "Polluter Pays Principle", all parties involved in introducing new electrical and electronic equipment on a commercial basis to the consumer are legally obliged to provide for its environmentally sound disposal.
These criteria cover manufacturers, direct importers and retailers/distributors who bring electrical and electronic products to the market under their own name.
- Why is it so important not to throw away old electronic equipment and devices in the household trash?
Most old electrical and electronic devices contain harmful substances such as the heavy metals mercury, lead or cadmium, and they are increasingly contaminating local waste with hazardous substances. Moreover, valuable resources such as precious metals and homogeneous salvageable plastics cannot be recovered for reuse or reprocessing if they are simply thrown away in the trash.
- What is the primary purpose behind this legislation?
- To protect the environment and human health from poisonous substances. The Act therefore explicitly prohibits the manufacture of electrical and electronic products containing certain substances or materials.
- To reduce the overall amount of electrical/electronic waste, to lessen the environmental impact of such waste and to conserve valuable raw materials and resources. The Act therefore regulates the procedures for the environmentally sound disposal of electrical and electronic devices.
- Does it cost anything to take old electrical and electronic appliances to the local collection stations?
No. According to the Act, the local public waste authorities are required to accept electronic and electrical waste from private households free of charge.
Questions about the product - business customers
- What is Electroreturn?
ELECTRORETURN is an attractive option for companies interested in offering an individualized take-back solution. ELECTRORETURN is especially designed for small electronic and electrical devices (apart from the separate category of lighting), and can also be used for returning printer cartridges.
You, the manufacturer or retailer/distributor, provide the consumer with a special shipping envelope when a new device is purchased, for example, or a shipping label that can be downloaded from the Internet. The end consumer then uses the shipping envelope, or a sturdy envelope with the shipping label attached, to dispose of the item. The service is free of charge for the consumer. Postage is paid by the addressee. The item can weigh up to 1 kg and be no larger than 353 x 300 x 50 mm.
- How can I, as a manufacturer, retailer/distributor or recycler, begin using the Electroreturn product?
A special contractual agreement is required if you wish to offer your customers the benefits of the ELECTRORETURN service.
- Can I use Electroreturn for collecting larger or heavier electronic devices or equipment?
No, ELECTRORETURN is not designed for larger devices and equipment. But we do have another solution for the return of larger, bulkier items. DHL Express will gladly assist you. Feel free to contact us. Contact
- Where are the shipments sent?
This is decided by our partner. Most manufacturers and retailers/distributors choose to have the items sent to a designated waste management company.
- What are the benefits of Electroreturn for me as a manufacturer or retailer/distributor?
- You take on environmental responsibility for your products
- A free, simple service for your customers
- Higher-quality recycling with cost-effective, separate collection
- Easy implementation in your existing recycling processes
- Transport-related carbon emissions are offset with climate protection schemes
- What does it cost to use Electroreturn as a business customer?
As the addressee, i.e. recipient of the returned end-of-life products, you pay only the cost of the shipping envelopes that have actually been used to return items to you. A charge of EUR 1.00 plus statutory value-added tax is made for each package.
- Do the used electronic and electrical items returned through the Electroreturn service count toward the manufacturer's or retailer/distributor's overall disposal quota?
Items collected through our service are counted like all other take-back items collected through public waste management system at the local collection stations.
Questions about product for individuals
- What is Electroreturn?
ELECTRORETURN is a convenient take-back solution for small end-of-life electronic devices (excluding light fixtures) and used printer cartridges using Deutsche Post's mail network. By using ELECTRORETURN, you know that your old electronic devices, such as mobile phones and used printer cartridges, will be recycled properly and as many parts as possible will be reused.
Items may weigh up to one kilogram and have a maximum size of 353 x 300 x 50 mm.
- How much to individuals pay for Electroreturn?
This service is free of charge to individuals.
- As a consumer, I can turn my old mobile phone in at a community collection point. What is the benefit of using Electroreturn?
Community collection points mix all types of recycled items together. This means that your mobile phone ends up in the same container as other small electrical devices. ELECTRORETURN mostly involves the same types of used products so that the chances are higher that valuable components and raw materials will be extracted and recirculated into production processes.
- Can I use Electroreturn to send large electronic equipment to a recycler?
You may use ELECTRORETURN to return any old electronic devices that do not exceed the size of a Maxibrief envelope (353 x 300 x 50 mm). Larger equipment may not be sent through Deutsche Post's mail network.
- Why does Deutsche Post offer Electroreturn?
One of the cornerstones of our corporate responsibility is dedication to our environment - that's why we offer green solutions and make them happen. We are active supporters of returning end-of-life electronic devices and used printer cartridges in order to help ensure that as many of these old devices from private households get recycled.
- What happens to these old electronic devices?
Our recycling partner (CCR Deutschland AG, Dornach) guarantees that all items received are recycled according to the legal requirements. Products that still work are tested to see if they can be reused and possibly refurbished or if valuable raw materials can be extracted. This way, valuable resources that can be used as raw materials are put back into circulation.
- What do I need to do when I return a mobile phone?
Please don't forget to remove the SIM card and delete all the personal data and information from the phone. Do not place loose batteries in the envelope and do not send more than two phones at once.
- What do I need to do when I return a printer cartridge?
Please wrap the empty printer cartridge in newspaper or put it in a plastic bag before putting it in the envelope to make sure no ink escapes.
- Are there any special packaging requirements?
The envelope must provide adequate protection for the contents. If necessary, use a plastic bag, paper, etc. to wrap the devices or printer cartridges, and use adhesive tape to seal the envelope if you need to.
- What can I send for recycling using Electroreturn?
You can use Electroreturn to send all old electronic and electrical devices (e.g. mobile phones that are no longer used or not working any more, end-of-life or broken digital cameras, PDAs, MP3 players, computer components of all kinds) or empty printer cartridges, as long as the item plus packaging does not exceed the dimensions of a Maxibrief (353 x 300 x 50 mm). The package can weigh up to 1 kg.
- Am I not harming the environment with carbon emissions from transport?
ELECTRORETURN uses the GOGREEN carbon-neutral transport service, in which the carbon emissions of every shipment are offset by internationally recognized climate protection projects.