Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)
What is it?
Directive 2011/65/EU on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (known as the ‘recast RoHS Directive’ or ‘RoHS2’) restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in certain electrical and electronic equipment, such as TVs, laptops, washing machines, fridges and lighting equipment.
In comparison to the initial Directive 2002/95/EC (‘RoHS1’), the scope of the Directive has now been extended to progressively cover medical devices, monitoring and control equipment and other electrical and electronic equipment. The Directive also harmonises the rules for reviewing the initial six substance restrictions of annex II (lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenylethers), and for adding new ones. It improves the exemptions mechanism in case there are no alternative solutions available for certain applications.
Published in the Official Journal on 1 July 2011, RoHS 2 entered into force on 21 July 2011. Member states had to transpose the recast RoHS Directive into national law by 2 January 2013 at the latest. The RoHS1 Directive was repealed with effect from 3 January 2013.
Why is it important?
Restricting the use of certain substances in electrical and electronic equipment requires a re-organisation of companies’ global and often highly complex supply chains, redesign of products, as well as adaptations of production lines under the given time constraints. This gives rise to costs, and requirements for the technical and administrative adaptation of the manufacturing processes.
The recast modified the initial RoHS1 Directive in the following areas: scope, criteria and procedure of setting new substance restrictions, criteria and applications for exemptions to substance restrictions and aligning RoHS with REACH and the New Legislative Framework (NLF). Therefore, manufacturers will be required to adjust their own implementation activities to ensure compliance with the still new requirements.
Finally RoHS2 does not stand alone. It comes into an area that is heavily regulated, notably the complementarity of RoHS2 with the EU’s wider horizontal chemicals law, the REACH Regulation, but also with the Eco design Directive and New Legislative Framework.
Therefore, a common understanding is indispensable for securing the key principles enshrined in the Treaty, such as the functioning of the Internal Market, but equally an effective implementation of the Directive and related other EU policy acquis, such as the REACH Regulation, from an environmental point of view.
Pending issues of relevance for the sector include in particular the scope review of RoHS2, the revision of article 2(2), the amendment of the list of restricted substances in annex II and its underlying methodologies.
Orgalime and European manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment are fully committed to continuously improving the environment performance of products throughout their life cycle, including the use of substances and related end of life aspects. Now in the implementation process of RoHS2, Orgalime’s objective is to ensure both, a timely and proper implementation on the basis of a common understanding between regulators and industry. In particular, producers feel it important that:
- Member state’s transpositions respect the harmonised rules set out by the Directive.
- Further clarity on the scope should be provided, especially regarding the category and the functional unit approaches.
- Coherence with the REACH Regulation must be ensured – a Common Understanding of the Interface between RoHS and REACH is indispensable for a successful implementation of both tools.
- RoHS must be fully aligned with the New Legislative Framework.
- Any new substance restrictions need to be science and risk based and should not create conflicting or overlapping requirements with other EU policy instruments, notably REACH.
How we’ve been engaged
Orgalime has been actively involved in the recast process and contributed to different stakeholder consultations and preparatory studies. We closely followed the developments on the legislative process and the whole adoption process of the recast Directive.
Orgalime also provides information on the latest state of the transposition and implementation process to its members. It underpinned the activities of the Technical Adaptation Committee (TAC), the Commission and member states which established a working group for the preparation of a RoHS 2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document.
Orgalime is also member of a working group established by the European Commission concerning potential new restrictions of substances in EEE.
We are an active promoter of consistency of RoHS and REACH.
Additionally, to facilitate the implementation of the Directive, Orgalime has developed a number of Guides and Overviews, including:
- 'Recast Directive 2011/65/EU on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in EEE (RoHS II)', a practical Guide to understanding the specific obligations of Recast Directive 2011/65/EU on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in EEE (RoHS II) which explains the main changes and obligations arising from the recast, and to identify its consequences for Orgalime industries. (July 2011)
- 'A practical Guide to understanding of the scope of WEEE & RoHS' (January 2006) to help authorities and producers to determine more precisely the scope of these two Directives by providing interpretations, criteria and decision trees that help the reader to determine whether products falling in 'grey areas' do actually fall within their scope or not. For information on how to purchase a printed copy of this guide please click here. To download an electronic version of the guide please click here.
- 'A practical Guide to understanding WEEE & RoHS' (April 2003) which gives a factual description of the requirements that manufacturers have to fulfill in order to comply with WEEE & RoHS.
- European Commission - RoHS
- DG ENVI - Waste
- Öko-Institut and Fraunhofer IZM
- Bio Intelligent Service
- ERA Technology