Not Every Old Smartphone has to be Thrown Away, E-Waste

Used, broken, thrown away: that is the fate of many cell phones. But repairs are often worthwhile – and if not, the device should at least be disposed of properly with care.

Electronic waste in countless households: According to the digital association Bitkom, more than 100 million cell phones that are no longer in use are slumbering in German drawers. The association drew attention to this on the occasion of the E-Waste-Day 2020.

Functioning devices should be donated, resold or returned to the manufacturer in order to protect the environment, the association recommends. Repairs are often worthwhile for defective devices. In addition to the statutory warranty, some manufacturers also offer free repairs as part of a voluntary guarantee. If this is no longer the case, the device can also be repaired at your own expense and then sold or donated.

A case for the bin? Dispose of electronics properly

If a device can no longer be repaired, it must be disposed of properly – it must not simply be disposed of with household waste. Because the lithium-ion batteries built into smartphones can become fire triggers if they are damaged. Accumulators and batteries of all kinds therefore belong in special collection boxes in stores or should be handed in at municipal collection points such as recycling centers.

How do I Properly Dispose of my Electronic Waste?

Whether it’s broken televisions, discarded computers or aging hair curlers – these things are often not disposed of properly despite legal requirements. But how do you do it right?

Whether you hang on your laptop or not, sometimes a repair is in vain or not even worthwhile. The old device has to go to the garbage. However, it is not clear to everyone that this is not about household waste. In addition to taking it back from the dealer, the recycling center is a good place to get rid of electronic waste. TECHHNOLOGY BUTTON explains what is important.

What is Considered an Electrical Appliance?

Almost all devices that require electricity – whether from the socket, the telephone cable or a battery – for their function, fall under the so-called Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG). If they no longer fulfill their intended function or have been replaced by better devices, they are considered electronic waste. The list is constantly being expanded, for example, pedelecs up to 25 km / h, photovoltaic modules, night storage heaters and lights have also had to be disposed of as electronic waste for some time.

Since a new regulation in August 2018, products also belong to electronic scrap if they contain permanently installed electrical or electronic components. These include shoes with illuminated soles, electrically adjustable TV armchairs, bathroom cabinets with built-in illuminated mirrors and backpacks with permanently sewn lighting. Since 2019, plugs and power strips, adapters, antennas and telephone sockets have also belonged to this group and must be disposed of as electronic waste.

Electronic Waste

  • Large household appliances (e.g. dishwashers, tumble dryers, ovens, stoves, washing machines)
  • Small household appliances (e.g. vacuum cleaners, toasters, hair dryers, coffee machines, entertainment electronics)
  • PCs and laptops
  • Telephones and fax machines
  • Printer and copier

No Electronic Waste

  • Medical equipment
  • Batteries and rechargeable batteries that are to be thrown away without the device in which they are plugged must still be brought back to the trade or can be voluntarily taken back at municipal collection points
  • Hot water devices and air conditioners are classified as “fixed installations” and are also not covered by the law
  • Light sources (fluorescent tubes, energy-saving lamps)

Who Accepts E-Waste?

Where Do I Recycle E-Waste?

Click to recycle : [symple_button url=”” color=”green2″ button_target=”_blank” btnrel=”nofollow”]Recyle[/symple_button]

In the case of large electrical appliances, such as televisions or refrigerators, this service is only free if you also buy a corresponding new device. Small devices – i.e. those with an edge length of no more than 25 cm (razors, electric toothbrushes, smartphones) must be accepted unconditionally and free of charge.

Good to know: the obligation to take back electronic waste also applies to online retail! Since this has no stationary sales areas, the regulation relates to the company’s storage areas. If these are at least 400 square meters, the online retailer must accept old electrical appliances. Disposal options are free shipping of the old goods or free return when the new goods are delivered. But you should definitely find out the corresponding conditions in advance. By offering collection systems at a “reasonable distance”, online retailers can free themselves from the obligation to take them with you and invoice you for the work.


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