EU’s leading approach in waste management is based on several key principles: waste prevention, recycling and reuse, as well as improving final disposal and monitoring.
EU legislation restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC) and promoting the collection and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC) has been in force since February 2003. The two directives have been recently under revision.
RoHS 2 directive (2011/65/EU) was published in the Official Journal on 1 July 2011 and entered into force on 21 July 2011. The new directive continues to ban lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and the flame retardants Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). The previous RoHS Directive covered several categories of electrical and electronic equipment including household appliances, IT and consumer equipment, but it has now been extended to all electronic equipment, cables and spare parts. Exemptions can still be granted in cases where no satisfactory alternative is available. The list of banned substances will be reviewed on a regular basis.
The key elements of the new RoHS Directive are as follows:
A gradual extension of the rules to all electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), cables and spare parts, with a view to full compliance by 2019;
A review of the list of banned substances by July 2014, and periodically thereafter;
Clearer and more transparent rules for granting exemptions from the substance ban;
Improved coherence with the REACH Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals;
Clarification of important definitions; and
CE marking denoting compliance with European norms reserved for electronic products that also respect RoHS requirements.
The legislative process for the recast of the WEEE directive is still ongoing.
Status of the process
The European Parliament voted in first reading on 3 February 2011. More information.
The Council reached Political Agreement on 14 March 2011. The press release can be found here.
The Council adopted the Common Position on 19 July 2011. It is available here.
The Commission has adopted a Communication on the first reading. It is available here.
The second reading draft report for the EP ENVI Committee is available here.