Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (2nd cast), Batteries Directive, and Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Directive.

Most products placed on the European market bearing the CE mark are required to meet the 'Second Cast' of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS 2), and may also be subject to the Waste Electronic & Electrical Equipment Directive, and (where fitted with a battery) the Batteries Directive.  There are some exceptions, but if you have been referred to this page, then it is likely that your product is not exempt from one or more of these directives.

Compliance to these directives is not something that we can test for, but the information here is to provide you with some guidance to ensure you know how to meet the Directives.

RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU
The documents, below, will guide you through the RoHS obligations on those wishing to place products on the European market:

- RoHS 2 Directive Info (European Commission Website)
- RoHS 2 Directive  (PDF)
- RoHS 2 Directive FAQ (PDF)

The following flow chart is extracted from the FAQ (see link, above) and can be used to establish if your product falls within the scope of the directive.  The 'articles' described refer to articles within the text of the Directive, which is also linked, above.

A list of specifically exempt applications (and the limitations of these exemptions) can be found in Annex III & IV of the Directive.   The FAQ can guide you through the meanings of exemptions throughout the equipment.

Article 2 Paragraph 4 details equipment that is NOT in the scope of the RoHS 2 Directive.  This includes "Large-scale stationary industrial tools".  The directive gives the following definition of this category:
- an assembly of machines, equipment and/or components, functioning together
for a specific application;
- permanently installed and de-installed by professionals at a given place;
- used and maintained by professionals in an industrial manufacturing facility or
R&D facility;
- and it has to be large-scale;

Section 3 of the FAQ (see link above) assists in deciding if your product meets the definition of "Large-scale".  It gives the following examples - though each exemption must be looked at on a case-by-case basis:

Machines for the industrial production and processing of materials and goods,
such as
  o CNC lathes;
  o Bridge-type milling and drilling machines;
  o Metal forming presses;
  o Newspaper printing presses;
- Machines for the testing of work pieces, such as
  o Electron beam, laser, bright light, and deep ultra violet defect detection
  o Automated integrated circuit board and printed wiring board testers;
- Cranes;
- Other machinery of similar size, complexity and weight.

It is the responsibility of the manufacturer, importer, or any other economic operator involved to assess whether their tool or installation benefits from the exclusion.

Article 4 Paragraph 3 details categories of equipment that may enjoy an extension of the period exemption during which they are not required to conform to the restriction of substances.  It should be noted that the exemption for "industrial monitoring and control instruments" will expire for equipment placed on the market from July 22, 2017.

The RoHS Directive is a CE Marking directive, and conformity to this directive must be stated on the equipment's Declaration of Conformity.

A European Standard (EN 50581:2012) exists to provide manufacturers with details of the technical documentation required to demonstrate an appropriate assessment has been conducted on their electronic and electrical equipment.  This is a rather small standard (running to just 11 pages), and manufacturers may wish to utilize the free RoHS FAQ and the text of the directive to assemble their technical file, although compliance with this harmonised standard will give you presumption of conformity to the Directive (provided, of course, that your hazardous substances meet the maximum permitted concentrations).  The standard is available from most national standards outlets, such as ANSI, BSI, or Danish Standards.  Prices vary, and the standard should be the same from all outlets.

Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC
Batteries in electronic and electrical equipment are specifically exempt from the RoHS Directive.  There is a separate Batteries Directive (2006/66/EC) which should be met.  The Batteries Directive is not a CE marking directive, so compliance to this should not be listed on your EU Declaration of Conformity.

The documents, below, will guide you through the obligations on those wishing to place their battery-containing products on the European market:

- Batteries Directive Info (European Commission Website)
- Batteries Directive Text (PDF)*
- Batteries Directive FAQ (PDF)

* Note: Check the 'Directive Info' link for subsequent amendments to the main directive.

WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU
Unlike the RoHS Directive, the WEEE Directive is not a CE marking directive, so compliance to this should not be listed on your EU Declaration of Conformity.  Also, unlike the RoHS Directive, the WEEE Directive may be implemented in different ways in the different countries of the European Union (and EFTA and EEA areas).  This makes compliance with the WEEE Directive more complex for those wishing to place products on the European market.

The recast WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU (‘WEEE2’) was finally adopted in January 2012 and published in the Official Journal of the EU on 24 July 2012. The recast WEEE entered into force on 13 August 2012, launching the transposition/implementation process of WEEE2. Member states will have to transpose the Recast WEEE Directive into national law by 14 February 2014 at the latest.
WEEE1 will be repealed with effect from 15 February 2014.

Due to this overlap of directives, the time allowed for different countries to transpose the directive into national legislation, and the 'non-CE marking' approach to this directive, different countries in Europe have different requirements.  This, of course, is far from ideal, but it is the situation at present.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration provides a useful set of country-by-country pages that can assist you in selecting and researching the WEEE requirements for countries to which you want to export:  CLICK HERE to visit that page.

Once you have selected a country, you should then follow the provided links until you reach the responsible authority in that country, and the requirements they have.  If no links are provided, a contact name, e-mail address, and telephone number will be provided where you can contact the appropriate specialist at the International Trade Administration for details.

These additional details are provided to assist you:

- WEEE Directive Info (European Commission Website)
- WEEE Directive Text (PDF)
- WEEE Directive FAQ (PDF - also includes information on previous RoHS Directive)


© 2011 EU Compliance Services, Inc.