You can now dispose of old electrical items at German supermarkets


Not sure what to do with your old and broken electrical goods? Germany has just made recycling and disposing of electronics a little bit easier, by requiring supermarkets and discount stores to accept them.

Supermarkets in Germany must take old electrical goods

Up until now, only electronics stores in Germany like MediaMarkt and Saturn have been required to take customers’ old and broken electrical goods so that they can dispose of them or recycle them in the appropriate manner.

Thanks to a change in the law, however, as of July 1, 2022, customers will be able to save themselves a trip and leave their stuff at supermarkets and discount stores like Aldi, Lidl and Netto – regardless of where the items were originally bought , and whether or not they are buying something new.

The law applies so long as the supermarket has a retail space of more than 800 square meters and sells electronic items several times a year. The item you’re handing in has to be smaller than 25 centimetres on its longest side, meaning kettles, shavers, toothbrushes and mobile phones are all allowed. It will also be possible to hand in larger items like computers or televisions, but only if you are buying a replacement.

Large chains like Edeka, Rewe, Netto, Penny, Aldi and Lidl all said this week that they were prepared for the new regulation and ready to start accepting items from July 1. To get rid of your old electronics, simply hand them over to the cashier at the checkout, who will then ensure that the item is disposed of properly.

Electronic waste often not disposed of

The federal government wants to make it easier for consumers to dispose of electronic waste after it was recently revealed that Germany had missed its EU-set target of 65 percent of waste being appropriately collected.

In 2019, just 44.3 percent of electronic devices were correctly disposed of, according to figures from the Federal Environment Agency, presenting the risk of toxic substances leaking into the environment and preventing valuable raw materials from being recycled.

The new law should “make it even easier for consumers to dispose of old small devices so that they don’t end up in the household waste,” said Simone Bueb of the consumer advice center in Bavaria.

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