Hamburg/Germany – More than 120 participants accepted the invitation of the VERE Association and take-e-way GmbH this year in order to be informed about the future of the product responsibility and its effects on the small and medium sized enterprises (SME).
The fact that the small and medium sized companies are the supporting pillar of the economy is reflected in the participation of numerous representatives of associations, media, institutes, authorities and ministries.
In comparison to the last year the number of participants increased by 50 participants. This is proving the seriousness by which the small and medium sized enterprises fulfill their obligation of product responsibility.
The tradition-steeped House of Patriotic Society of 1765 (= Haus der Patriotischen Gesellschaft von 1765) in Hamburg offered the suitable platform to establish new contacts.
Expropriation of the persons responsible for products
Alexander Goldberg, chairman of the Foundation EAR (= Stiftung Elektro-Altgeräte Register) gave his eagerly awaited lecture regarding the implementation of the WEEE amendment and the new challenge and chances for the national register in Europe.
At this, Mr. Goldberg explained that the number of disposal orders by the Foundation EAR will decline by about 20.000 this year due to the opting of the municipalities. For this reason it is not possible to further reduce the EAR fees for the foreseeable future, said Mr. Goldberg.
Therefore, from the point of view of the VERE Association the manufacturers are punished twice. They are not only expropriated with regard to the waste electrical and electronic devices which they have properly registered with the Foundation EAR. Furthermore, the municipalities are profiting from the high raw material prices for the demanded collection groups whereas the manufacturers bear the cost for the recycling of the other devices.
Thus the manufacturers lose the access to the old devices for which they finance the recycling. They are practically hindered in exercising their product responsibility. The opting is in particular at the expenses of the small and medium sized enterprises since it does not allow a further reduction of the EAR fees and thus creates market entry barriers for the small companies.
VERE demands strengthening of the manufacturers while they exercise their obligations
The VERE chairman Oliver Friedrichs reminds of the target of product responsibility, to protect the citizens and the environment and to produce high quality products in his lecture.
While fulfilling their obligations resulting of the product responsibility the manufacturers and companies introducing a product on the market encounter high expenses, high cost, the opacity in the jungle of instructions and regulations as well as the risk of written warnings. Those who are offering products complying with the law do not have any advantages.
However, Mr. Friedrichs highlights the chances of the product responsibility since it sustainably improves the quality of products, complies with the wishes of modern environmentally conscious consumers and in particular ensures the raw material supply of future productions. In particular small and medium sized enterprises take their obligations particularly seriously, said Mr. Friedrichs.
Therefore, VERE and take-e-way demand to reinforce the own responsibility of the manufacturers by accessing their old devices. The interests of third parties that are not involved must not precede those of the manufacturers, said Mr. Friedrichs.
Brussels is taking small and medium sized enterprises rather seriously
Julia Philipp, parliamentary speaker of Karl-Heinz Florenz, member of the European Parliament in Brussels, reported on the development and situation of the WEEE revision from the point of view of the European Parliament.
Mrs. Philipp highlighted that the environmental legislation is in the meantime mainly performed in Brussels and that the decision-makers there are generally depending on the feedback and proposals of the small and medium sized enterprises. Brussels is aware of the importance of the small and medium sized enterprises and is taking their suggestions rather seriously, said Mrs. Philipp.
Against this background, the VERE Association performs its function to bring the requests and interests of its members forward in Brussels.
Expert platform for batteries planned
Georgios Chryssos, chairman of the Foundation GRS Batteries reported on the new requirements in taking back used batteries. At this, Mr. Chryssos announced that an Internet-based platform – a so-called expert forum – will be available for used batteries in the near future.
Europeanisation of the registration practice is desirable
Jana Dörschel from the German Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology and Heike Schroeder from the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety reported on the further development of national regulations regarding electrical and electronic devices in the frame of the implementation of European guidelines.
Mrs. Schroeder explained that the national approach of registrations has to be maintained in order to allow the possibility of an organized law enforcement further on. However, the Europeanisation of the registration practice by means of an EU-wide uniform registration format is desirable.
High interest in collection campaigns
Franz Reitberger, council of the higher civil service in the Bavarian State Ministry for Environment and Health (StMUG) reports on the experiences from the Bavarian collection of used mobile phones "Disposing of mobile phones in a clever way" for which VERE took on the legal entity.
Mr. Reitberger underlined an important public interest in the collecting campaign in which more than 2.000 schools, 300 authorities, district offices and municipalities, 120 hospitals and universities as well as about 55 companies participated within only two months. Lots of press, broadcasting and media requests were and are still today addressed to the State Ministry for Environment and Health.
Product responsibility 2013
A representative of authority summarized the event well: "We have to achieve the aim that the whole population is becoming aware of recycling." Against this background, the VERE chairman Jochen Stepp announced that the exchange regarding the product responsibility will also be continued in 2013. "For the next event, we will reserve even some more time for our discussions", added Oliver Friedrichs.
- Founded in 2004 in Hamburg
- Currently 13 employees
- Management: Jochen Stepp, Oliver Friedrichs
Business Fields: take-e-way GmbH at Hamburg/Germany assumes the implementation of requirements and obligations in conformity with the law according to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG/WEEE), Battery Act (BattG) and Packaging Ordinance (VerpackV) for medium-sized companies in Germany and abroad.
VERE Association: take-e-way represents the interests of more than 2'500 small and medium-sized companies even at political level in cooperation with the Verband zur Rücknahme und Verwertung von Elektro- und Elektronikaltgeräten (VERE e.V.) (= VERE Association for the take-back and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (VERE e.V. registered association)) founded in 2003, the organization of suppliers, manufacturers, trade associations and individual persons for implementation of the ElektroG in Germany having the largest number of members.