Industry and trade produce large volumes of electrical and electronic waste that cannot be disposed via regular channels. This includes a wide variety of devices, from used computers, monitors, printers and fax machines, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioning systems, light fittings, electronic tools, and devices such as drinks machines and cash dispensers.
Electronic waste often contains a large amount of dangerous and harmful substances, including heavy metals like lead, cadmium and mercury - so strict laws are in place to regulate the disposal of such substances. Within the European Union, the handling of electronic waste is governed by the EC Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and other regulations. In Germany, this Directive is implemented through the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (Elektronikgerätegesetz - ElektroG).