Brussels, 24 November 2010
The European Commission welcomes today's vote by the European Parliament to revise legislation on the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. The draft legislation, proposed by the Commission in 2008, will strengthen the existing law by streamlining procedures for future substance restrictions and by making it coherent with other chemicals legislation1. Today’s vote confirms the first reading agreement with the Council on the revised legislation.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "We use more and more electrical and electronic products and we must make sure they have as little impact on the environment and human health as possible – both when we use them and when we throw them away. Today’s vote will lead to a stronger law that is coherent with other pieces of legislation and easier to implement and enforce. Environmental improvements will result from the inclusion of new product categories such as medical devices and monitoring instruments. In the medium to long term this will eliminate the presence of banned substances in these products and in the waste derived from them."
The Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS) has prevented many thousands of tonnes of banned substances from being disposed of and potentially released into the environment since it came into force in 2003. It has led to important changes in the design of electrical and electronic products in the European Union and worldwide and facilitates the recovery of many rare substances and materials used in electronics. This law thus contributes to making the EU more resource-efficient, in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy. RoHS has also served as a model for similar laws introduced in at least 15 other jurisdictions outside the European Economic Area.
RoHS currently covers a vast spectrum of products that use electricity, including small and large household appliances, IT and telecommunications equipment and consumer goods such as radios, TV sets, video cameras and hi-fi systems.
The revised Directive
The revised Directive agreed today aims to improve implementation and enforcement and introduces greater coherence with other EU legislation, such as REACH and the new legislative framework for the marketing of products.
Key elements include:
The text voted on today will now need to be formally adopted by the Council. The new Directive will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. Member States will then have 18 months to transpose it into national law. Until then, the existing RoHS Directive (Directive 2002/95/EC) continues to apply.
The Commission will review the changes in scope between the old and new Directive which have not yet been subject to an impact assessment no later than three years after entry into force.
The Commission has made four declarations on scope, review, nanomaterials and correlation tables. To read these and for more information, visit the European Commission webpage on electrical and electronic equipment:
Such as REACH Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances (EC Regulation 1907/2006)