Germany: The new German Batteries Act - A tightened regime of registrations and take-back obligations for manufacturers, importers, distributors and resellers

In brief

What has happened? 

On 1 January 2021, a revised version of the German Batteries Act (Batteriegesetz, "BattG") entered into force. This change was triggered by the fact that the former German system of battery take-back was no longer sustainable. The former legal structure had imposed an unfair burden upon GRS Batterien, Europe's largest collection scheme, which had become increasingly financially unattractive and therefore had been abandoned by many battery manufacturers who had set up their own take-back schemes.

The revised Batteries Act has aimed to establish a level playing field and has introduced a registration obligation for anyone placing batteries on the German market. Furthermore, the revised Batteries Act has also transposed certain new requirements under the amended Waste Framework Directive into German law.


What it means for you

The reform of the German Batteries Act has entailed, in particular, new obligations for anyone who places batteries on the German market. It is important to understand that while the Batteries Act imposes such obligations on "manufacturers," this term, in the meaning of the law, does not only comprise battery producers, but also importers, authorized representatives of non-EU-based producers and even distributors and resellers of batteries, provided no one else has properly registered as a manufacturer of the batteries they sell. 

The most relevant aspects of the revised Battery Act are as follows:

  • Anyone who places batteries on the German market must previously register as "manufacturer" with the Foundation EAR (Stiftung Altgeräte-Register). This obligation has replaced the former, less burdensome, mere notification obligation with the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, "UBA").
  • The registration process is administered by Foundation EAR, which is also responsible for the administration of all registrations of manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) under the German law implementing the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. Stiftung EAR's electronic database has been extended to also allow the registration of battery "manufacturers." Companies that are already registered as manufacturers of EEE may amend their current registration to also cover batteries. According to the Federal Government, around 60% of manufacturers should be able to benefit from the synergies between the batteries and WEEE administration.
  • Manufacturers, which are not established in the EU, may appoint an authorized representative established in the EU.
  • The amended Batteries Act has abolished the former non-profit Common Collection System and replaced it with the requirement for each manufacturer to set up and operate its own take-back system, which must be approved by the competent authority. Manufacturers may join a system which is operated by multiple manufacturers or by a third-party on their behalf.
  • Finally, the revised Battery Act has transposed into German national law certain minimum requirements for extended producer responsibility schemes as adopted by the amended Waste Framework Directive. These minimum requirements include, for example, that manufacturers have the necessary financial and organizational means to meet their take-back obligations under the amended Batteries Act.

Actions to take

The above-described changes require amendments in the supply chain activities of companies placing batteries on the German market. These include, inter alia, the mandatory requirement to set up or join a manufacturers' take-back scheme and to register with Stiftung EAR. Distributors and resellers have to make sure that the batteries they market have been duly registered - or they will become, by operation of law, responsible for any non-compliance under the new Batteries Act.

* * * * *

This client alert is prepared for information purposes only. The information contained herein should not be relied on as legal advice and should, therefore, not be regarded as a substitute for detailed legal advice in the individual case. The advice of a qualified lawyer should always be sought in such cases. In publishing this alert, we do not accept any liability in individual cases. Baker & McKenzie - Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten und Steuerberatern mbB is a professional partnership under German law with its registered office in Frankfurt/Main, registered with the Local Court of Frankfurt/Main at PR No. 1602. It is associated with Baker & McKenzie International, a Verein organized under the laws of Switzerland. Members of Baker & McKenzie International are Baker McKenzie law firms around the world. In common with terminology used in professional service organizations, reference to a "partner" means a professional who is a partner, or equivalent, in such a law firm. Similarly, reference to an "office" means an office of any such law firm.


Copyright © 2024 Baker & McKenzie. All rights reserved. Ownership: This documentation and content (Content) is a proprietary resource owned exclusively by Baker McKenzie (meaning Baker & McKenzie International and its member firms). The Content is protected under international copyright conventions. Use of this Content does not of itself create a contractual relationship, nor any attorney/client relationship, between Baker McKenzie and any person. Non-reliance and exclusion: All Content is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal and regulatory developments. All summaries of the laws, regulations and practice are subject to change. The Content is not offered as legal or professional advice for any specific matter. It is not intended to be a substitute for reference to (and compliance with) the detailed provisions of applicable laws, rules, regulations or forms. Legal advice should always be sought before taking any action or refraining from taking any action based on any Content. Baker McKenzie and the editors and the contributing authors do not guarantee the accuracy of the Content and expressly disclaim any and all liability to any person in respect of the consequences of anything done or permitted to be done or omitted to be done wholly or partly in reliance upon the whole or any part of the Content. The Content may contain links to external websites and external websites may link to the Content. Baker McKenzie is not responsible for the content or operation of any such external sites and disclaims all liability, howsoever occurring, in respect of the content or operation of any such external websites. Attorney Advertising: This Content may qualify as “Attorney Advertising” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. To the extent that this Content may qualify as Attorney Advertising, PRIOR RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A SIMILAR OUTCOME. Reproduction: Reproduction of reasonable portions of the Content is permitted provided that (i) such reproductions are made available free of charge and for non-commercial purposes, (ii) such reproductions are properly attributed to Baker McKenzie, (iii) the portion of the Content being reproduced is not altered or made available in a manner that modifies the Content or presents the Content being reproduced in a false light and (iv) notice is made to the disclaimers included on the Content. The permission to re-copy does not allow for incorporation of any substantial portion of the Content in any work or publication, whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form or for commercial purposes.