New EU RoHS 2 Guidance FAQ

Guidance document in the form of a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the RoHS Recast has been published. The RoHS Recast entered into force on July 21, 2011, and requires Member States to transpose the provisions into their respective national laws by January 2, 2013, less than 6 months away.

Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) started as a UK directive and has been adopted by the EU. (It’s up to member states to determine compliance details such as implementation and enforcement.) The Directive is part of the European Union’s lateral waste management legislation. RoHS applies to equipment as defined by a certain section of the WEEE directive.

RoHS applies to the following categories:

  1. Large household appliances
  2. Small household appliances
  3. IT & Telecommunications equipment (infrastructure equipment is exempt in some countries)
  4. Consumer equipment
  5. Lighting equipment—including light bulbs
  6. Electronic and electrical tools
  7. Toys, leisure, and sports equipment (including video games)
  8. Medical devices (exemption removed in July, 2011)
  9. Monitoring and control instruments (exemption removed in July, 2011)
  10. Automatic dispensers
  11. Semiconductor devices

One of the prime objectives of RoHS 2 is to address concerns related to the increasing volume of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) arising in the EU.  Hazardous substances in this type of equipment could be released during waste management processes and could give rise to damage to human health and the environment.  The most effective way to address this concern is to restrict the use of the hazardous substances at the point of manufacture.

The new RoHS 2 FAQ  This new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document aims to help economic operators interpret the provisions of RoHS 2 in order to ensure RoHS 2 compliance. However, as the Directive being addressed only to the Member States, the rights and obligations for private parties exclusively flow from the measures enacted by the authorities of the Member States to implement it.

The FAQ is considered a ‘living document’ and may be revised in the future, according to the experience with the implementation and review of RoHS 2. The FAQs reflect the views of DG Environment and as such are not legally binding, it’s important to note that binding interpretation of EU legislation is the exclusive competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union. These FAQs should be read in conjunction with the general principles of the New Legislative Framework (NLF) and the Commission’s guide to the implementation of directives based on the New Approach and the Global Approach also known as the Blue Guide.

Where to get the RoHS 2 FAQ  Seems obvious but it’s important to say it: the FAQ document may undergo significant changes moving forward, as events warrant.  But it’s a solid start. As far as the new guidance goes, remember to submit your comments by September 14, 2012.

Get the document here: