Deutsche Umwelthilfe takes legal action against online retailers – eCommerce Magazin


  • According to tests by Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) Online retailers violate statutory information requirements for the return of hazardous waste such as construction foam cans.
  • DUH has successfully sued the Stabilo hardware store, the decision on the lawsuit against the Hellweg hardware store chain is still pending.
  • DUH calls for lower waste authorities to review statutory information obligations and announces legal steps against violations.

For example, empty foam cans contain residues that are hazardous to health and the environment. Therefore, these are classified as hazardous waste and must be collected separately. Not a single one of a total of ten online retailers examined used this Information obligations from the Packaging Act for the disposal of hazardous waste. Neither consumer-friendly information on return options was provided on the offer pages, nor information sheets enclosed with the products ordered.

Disposal of hazardous waste: Online retailers violate information requirements

“Online trading is booming right now in the Corona crisis. Nevertheless, statutory information requirements for the disposal of hazardous waste are not implemented. Proper collection and disposal is particularly important for products that contain pollutants. Online retailers have to make improvements immediately and the lower waste authorities must finally control compliance with the information requirements. Breaches of information obligations are no small matter, they can put consumers at acute risk, ”explains Barbara Metz, Deputy Federal Managing Director of German environmental aid.

The DUH calls on the lower waste authorities to immediately review the statutory information obligations of online retailers and ensure compliance with them. If hazardous waste is disposed of incorrectly, it can endanger the environment and the health of consumers. In the event that the enforcement authorities continue to fail to meet their obligations, the DUH will announce further tests and, if necessary, lawsuits.

Legal action against Stabilo tool store

Against violations of the Stabilo Werkzeugfachmarkt GmbH the DUH was able to proceed legally successfully. After the company refused to rule out breaches of information obligations in the future, the DUH sued the Tübingen regional court and was right. A lawsuit against the Hellweg hardware store chain, which has also been brought by the DUH, is still pending decision at the Dortmund Regional Court. The hearing will take place on June 30, 2021.

“We urge online retailers to inform consumers about every single product page Disposal of contaminated products such as construction foam cans to inform. Technical information on safety data sheets that are hidden somewhere on the retailer’s website are not acceptable. Customers should already be informed clearly and transparently when they buy, ”emphasizes Thomas Fischer, DUH head of circular economy. (sg)

Also read: Environmentally friendly packaging: what has changed as a result of the corona pandemic