The amendments to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act have been in force for several months. In concrete terms, this means that grocery stores, supermarkets and online stores are now also obliged to take back old electrical equipment since July 01, 2022. In principle, retailers must take back the devices free of charge, regardless of whether a new device was purchased or the old device was purchased in their store. The only thing customers have to watch out for is the size of the electrical appliances. If the old appliances are larger than specified in the law, they are taken back in an old-for-new exchange.
We tested 50 supermarkets in the Upper Palatinate and Upper Bavaria region with regard to take-back and their concepts. The overall conclusion was rather sobering.
Our test visits to supermarkets and the poor record
As experts for e-waste, our goal was to find out how supermarkets are meeting the new requirements, what weaknesses the supermarket concepts still have, and how they could be supported in using these new regulations as an opportunity, for example, for marketing. In the process, we also encountered many problems and unprepared employees. Almost 63 percent of the test stores were unable to provide us with any kind of concept on how take-back works or how the store complies with the regulations of the new law. The problem is: we want to support the supermarkets, but others see these incomplete concepts as a concrete violation of the law that must be reported and punished. Penalties in the 6-digit range are threatened.
Therefore, it is better to take precautions and protect yourself now, before a wave of warnings occurs. The German Retail Federation (HDE) sees this as a major burden for supermarkets in particular. According to the managing director of the HDE, the take-back is a considerable additional task. The small storage areas are one of the problems.
But: We at CIRECON see it differently! With our concept, supermarkets have almost no storage space to plan for the electrical appliances, can generate a competitive advantage with the take-back and, with the right implementation, even earn cash with it.