The German cabinet launched a draft law aiming to improve waste avoidance and increase recycling. It is an amendment to the Circular Economy Act. For online retailers this means the destruction of products will be more difficult. This makes it a necessity to find a better way to process returns.
The update on the Circular Economy Act covers different rules to have less waste and more recycling in Germany. One of the measurements aims at manufacturers and dealers and will prohibit companies from destroying stock unless it is unsuable.
Duty of care
A new element in product responsibility is the so-called “duty of care”. With it, the Federal Government is placing more responsibility on manufacturers and dealers. “The duty of care creates a legal basis for the first time to put a stop to the destruction of returns and excess goods. We are the first in the European Union,” said Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. In the areas of public procurement and custody, the federal government goes well beyond what has been agreed across the European Union.
In the current situation, many online retailers destroy non-sold stock. This is especially common in fashion. The newly drafted regulation is a legal basis that says dealers and manufacturers have to clearly document how they handle unsold goods. It is suggested to, for example, sell these for a lower price.