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 such equipment (WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC) has been in force since February 2003. The legislation provides for the creation of collection schemes where consumers return their used e-waste free of charge. The objective of these schemes is to increase the recycling and/or re-use of such products. It also requires 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.
Inadequately treated e-waste poses environmental and health risks. In December 2008, the European Commission therefore proposed to revise the directives on electrical and electronic equipment in order to tackle the fast increasing waste stream of such products. The aim is to increase the amount of e-waste that is appropriately treated and to reduce the volume that goes to disposal.
The 2011 RoHS recast
The aim of the RoHS recast was also 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:
Other important steps following the RoHS Recast
Frequently Asked Questions have been answered in the RoHS 2 FAQ document. Furthermore, consolidated guidance for exemptions applicants and related application format pursuant to RoHS 2 Article 5(8) have been drafted.
The 2017 RoHS scope review proposalIn January 2017, the Commission adopted a legislative proposal under the Article 24(1) mandate to introduce adjustments in the scope of the Directive, supported by the impact assessment. The preparatory RoHS 2 scope review studies are also available.