The RoHS Directive
EU legislation restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and promoting the collection and recycling of such equipment has been in force since February 2003. The legislation provides for the creation of collection schemes where consumers return their used waste EEE free of charge. The objective of these schemes is to increase the recycling and/or re-use of such products. The legislation also requires certain hazardous substances (heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium and flame retardants such as polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)) to be substituted by safer alternatives. Waste EEE poses environmental and health risks if inadequately treated. The RoHS and WEEE directives on electrical and electronic equipment were recast in 2011 and 2012 to tackle the fast increasing waste stream of such products. The aim is to increase the amount of waste EEE that is appropriately treated and to reduce the volume that goes to disposal.
The 2017 RoHS 2 scope review proposal
In January 2017, the Commission adopted a legislative proposal to introduce adjustments in the scope of the Directive, supported by the impact assessment. The preparatory RoHS 2 scope review studies are also available. The respective legislative act amending the RoHS 2 Directive, adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, has been published in the Official Journal on 21 November 2017.
The 2011 RoHS recast
The aim of the RoHS recast was, among other things, to reduce administrative burdens and ensure coherency with newer policies and legislation covering, for example, chemicals and the new legislative framework for the marketing of products in the European Union. The RoHS Recast Directive (RoHS 2) was published in the Official Journal on 1 July 2011.
History of the RoHS Recast:
- Stakeholder consultation documents (June 2007 – February 2008)
- Press release on the proposed revised WEEE and RoHS directive (Dec 2008)
- Proposal for a revised directive placing restrictions on certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (Dec 2008)
- Impact assessment on the proposed directive placing restrictions on certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (Dec 2008)
- Summary of the impact assessment on RoHS (Dec 2008)
- Questions and answers on the RoHS proposal (Dec 2008)
- The European Parliament voted in first reading on 24 November 2010.
- Press release of 24 November 2010
- The Council adopted the Recast Directive (RoHS 2) on 27 May 2011.
- RoHS 2 was published in the Official Journal on 1 July 2011 and entered into force on 21 July 2011.
- Press release of 20 July 2011
Other important steps following the RoHS Recast
Frequently Asked Questions have been answered in the RoHS 2 FAQ document. Furthermore, consolidated guidance for applicants for an exemption and related application form pursuant to RoHS 2 Article 5(8) have been drafted.