RoHS - Directive "Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment"

The European Directive 2011/65/EU, which restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS Directive), regulates the use of certain substances that have been assessed by legislators as hazardous in end products.

Under scrutiny are the exemptions for lead in copper alloys used in electrical and electronic products. The electrical industry’s working group for the revision of RoHS (SMT) is already active. The Kupferverband supports the efforts to represent the technical interests of the copper side.

On 15 January 2020, the EU Commission received a request for renewal of Exemption 6 (c) of Annex III of Directive 2011/65 / EU on the restriction of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment submitted by the Umbrella Project. Exemption 6c expires on 21 July 2021; for this category, the deadline for the submission of applications provided for in the Directive has thus been met. The first step is to initiate the technical and scientific evaluation of the request, which has been done by February 2020. The evaluation of the exceptions is normally set for a period of 8 months. If the evaluation shows that the criteria for the renewal of the exemption under Directive 2011/65 / EU are met, the Commission will prepare a draft delegated directive.

Furthermore, the partners of the RoHS Umbrella Industry Project have made clear in a statement to the European Commission that RoHS and ReaCH should remain two separate legal instruments. The European Commission and other stakeholders have considered the possibility of amending RoHS to incorporate elements from the ReaCH processes – including the possibility of merging RoHS into ReaCH – as part of the ongoing general review of the RoHS Directive. Nevertheless, improvements to the RoHS Directive have also become necessary in the eyes of the Umbrella Industry Project in order to avoid overlaps between ReaCH and RoHS. These should be resolved during the review process in cooperation with stakeholders.

What to do during the revision period?

Usually, the duration of the revision goes well beyond the validity period of the exemptions. This time will be no different. The process is not expected to be completed before 2022; even less before July 2021. As long as the process is ongoing, the exception will remain valid. If, contrary to expectations, the Commission does not extend the exemption, then a period for conversion will take effect that can last from twelve months to several years.

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