Today the EU Council and the European Parliament reach a provisional agreement on a revised RoHS Directive
by Emma Mundy at 14:43 in Circular Economy, Content, Emerging, Environmental, WEEE

This afternoon at 15.15 the EU Council announced that they have reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on a proposal for the revision of the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS) Directive.

Just last week on the 14 June we reported that the Council had agreed its negotiating stance on hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment as set out in the proposal included in the report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan.

According to the press release the agreement announced this afternoon will have to be confirmed by the EU ambassadors during their meetings scheduled this Friday 23 June.

Background

The RoHS Directive aims to reduce harmful substances found in electrical and electronic equipment in order to protect human health and the environment. Waste management problems exist for WEEE due to the heavy metals and flame retardants contained within them. Even if all waste EEE was collected separately issues would still remain due to the hazardous substances they contain.

As always with this type of legislation it is about reducing hazardous substances which can have a detrimental effect on human health and the environment as well as improving waste management through recycling and reuse.

Back in January this year the commission submitted a proposal to amend the RoHS Directive. The proposal can be viewed here.

What are the changes?

The proposal identified four problems with the RoHS Directive:

  1. The stopping of secondary market operations for electrical and electronic equipment covered by RoHS 2 and not RoHS1.
  2. The effects of RoHS2 on spare parts for certain EEE that was not in scope of RoHS1.
  3. RoHS2 resulting in stopping the placement on the market of pipe organs.
  4. RoHS2 resulting in market distortion for cord-connected non-road mobile machinery.

The proposal to amend the RoHS Directive will enable secondary market operations (e.g. reselling, second hand market) for certain electrical and electronic equipment; and enable the repair with the use of spare parts of certain electrical and electronic equipment that were placed on the market before 22 July 2019 and ensure that pipe organs and cord-connected non-road mobile machinery continue to be placed on the EU market without distortions. Other solutions have been considered but these are the preferred options.

It is believed that these changes will have economic, social and environmental benefits. The proposal to amend the RoHS directive was included in the EC report on the implementation of the Circular Economy action plan and states that it will benefit European citizens and businesses by fully enabling secondary market operations and increasing the availability of spare parts for EEE. It also states that it will bring market opportunities to repair industries and secondary selling as well as reducing costs and administrative burdens for businesses and public authorities.

When will the changes occur?

The Directive will enter into force 20 days after it is published in the Official Journal.

The proposal states that the Directive will be reviewed again in July 2021.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the upcoming changes please contact us here