Negotiations over the future of the EU’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive – which will impact the handling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) – are due to take place in Brussels this week (21 June).
The Directive, which has been in force since 2003 – and sits alongside the WEEE Directive – requires manufacturers of electrical goods to substitute potentially hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium, for safer alternatives within their products.
Discussions are due to centre on whether the resale of some used electrical items and spare parts, which may contain hazardous substances, should be exempt from some of the requirements of the Directive which are due to come into effect from 2019.
Items affected are likely to include medical devices and monitoring and control equipment – which had not been covered by the scope of the legislation, until changes in 2011.
The RoHS Directive states that the sale of non-compliant electrical goods both first hand and via secondary markets, such as reuse outlets, will be prohibited after 22 July 2019.
But, amendments to the Directive have been proposed to exempt the resale of used electrical and electronic equipment and spare parts that contain hazardous substances beyond this 2019 deadline.
Wednesday’s ‘trilogue’ negotiations, which will involve discussions between the European Council of Ministers, MEPs and the European Commission will centre on whether the 2019 deadline should be extended.
Last week (14 June), the EU’s Council of Ministers agreed on its negotiation stance ahead of the meeting, in which it committed to backing ‘secondary market operations’ for electrical goods.
In a statement ahead of the negotiations, the Council of Ministers stated: “The proposed directive aims at revising the scope of the Directive 2011/65/EU (RoHS 2). The new proposal specifically addresses problems arising from the “open-source” product group, includes amendments aiming at establishing equal treatment of products covered by the Directive and proposes to exclude a particular product, namely pipe organs.
“The main objective of the amending text is to ensure the possibility of secondary market operations (e.g. reselling, second-hand market) for electrical and electronic equipment that were newly covered by RoHS 2 and the use of spare parts for such equipment if they are put on the market before 22 July 2019.”
According to the Council, “hopes are high” that the negotiations will be completed on Wednesday.
- The latest developments regarding WEEE can be heard from a rangee of speakers at the WEEE Conference, discussing the present and future of the UK’s WEEE System, to be held in London on June 21 and organised by letsrecycle.com. More information at: www.weeeconference.com