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The crossed-out dustbin indicates to consumers which devices must not be disposed of in household waste. Products marked with the WEEE symbol must be collected separately. Find out here whether you as an online retailer are obliged to use the symbol with or without the bar.

WEEE symbol: labelling obligation for online traders

As an online retailer, you are obliged to label your electrical devices and batteries according to the WEEE Directive (2012/19/EU) and ElektroG. In case of non-labelling, you could face high fines.

Implementation of the WEEE symbol

In order to provide uniform regulations for the disposal of electrical and electronic devices throughout Europe, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive for short) has been in force since 2003. In Germany, the EU Directive was transposed into national law in 2005 as the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG).

The amendment of Directive 2012/19/EU (WEEE II) has been in force since 2012. This new version was adapted in the German ElektroG in 2015.

In 2022, a third version of the Act on the Placing on the Market, the Taking Back and the Environmentally Sound Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Elektrog3) followed.

Timeline of the amendments of the ElektroG

For more information on the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act and the latest amendments, see our article on the ElektroG.

Reasons for the WEEE symbol

The idea for the symbol is based on the principles of the circular economy: resources are not wasted, but reused. Only if electrical devices and batteries are collected separately can they also be recycled properly.

The WEEE symbol of the crossed-out dustbin is a so-called “market conduct rule”. The purpose of this rule is to protect the interest of market participants.

What does it mean in concrete terms? If you sell electrical devices or batteries online, you have to comply with the rules of conduct in this market. This includes, among other things, the obligation to label your appliances with the crossed-out wheeled bin.

WEEE symbol with or without the bar?

According to the specifications of DIN EN 50419, it is clearly regulated how electrical appliances must be labelled. A bar below the waste bin indicates that the product was put on the market after 13 August 2005. Alternatively, the symbol without a bar can be used in combination with a date (year, month).

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WEEE symbol for B2B und B2C

In Germany, for example, the WEEE symbol does not have to be displayed on pure B2B products. However, this only applies if devices are explicitly sold to Germany. In many other EU countries, the symbol must be affixed for both B2B and B2C.

Appropriate labelling must also be ensured in the case of dual use of equipment for both business and private use. As an online trader operating throughout Europe, it is therefore advisable to label products uniformly with the crossed-out dustbin.  

The WEEE symbol must be placed directly on the product

Only in special cases it may be sufficient if the crossed-out waste bin is only printed on the product packaging or the instructions for use. This may be the case if the product itself is so small that the symbol of the bin would no longer be visible to the bare eye or the function of the product would no longer be guaranteed.

However, this is only very rarely the case. Therefore we recommend: Always play it safe and label your electrical devices and batteries with the WEEE symbol.

0:1 and 1:1 take-back

As a distributor of electrical devices with a sales, storage or shipping area of more than 400 m², you are obliged to take back old devices from customers.

1:1 take-back: Customers may return an old electrical device of the same type when purchasing a new device.

0:1 take-back: Customers may return small devices with a size of up to 25cm in “household quantities” to you even without purchasing a new device.

WEEE symbol vector graphic download

You can download the symbol of the crossed-out dustbin as a vector file in SVG format here:

Download WEEE vector symbol without bar

Download WEEE vector symbol with bar

Further information on labelling obligations for electrical devices and batteries is available for our customers.




Meet your labelling obligations easily with ecosistant

With our consultancy service, you can access detailed compliance guidance for each of your target markets. This will enable you to meet your recycling obligations in any EU country.

The service includes all the information compiled for you individually for packaging and for electrical devices & batteries.