This blog discusses the Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directives and how they affect the design, manufacture, marketing, and sales of products sold in the European Community member states and North America.
These directives govern the registration, collection, disposal, and recycling of electrical and electronic products produced within and outside the countries concerned. The European Parliament is in the process of final review for the most recent amendments to the directives, and each individual member state is working to identify governing bodies that will be responsible for the practical aspects required for full compliance. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the governing body for the United States, and electronic waste is covered under Title 40 Part 261 (Identification and Listing of Hazardous Waste).
In this blog I will discuss all the various elements of these environmental regulations and name all the players manufacturers must be aware of to assure compliance. The regulations are many and the enforcers similarly numerous, but your company needs to be aware of all these participants to avoid getting caught in a legal mess. As noted in the headline, this is an updated primer on the various parties involved. The details would be too intense for those already familiar with the regulations and the implications for their businesses, but for anyone that is just getting started, this may just be what the doctor ordered.
First, I'll identify all of the departments and government agencies you need to know about in Europe -- plus all of the acronyms. In part two of the report to be posted next week, we'll discuss details of the laws and how they impact the electronics market. Please chime in with comments and suggestions.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) leads the EU negotiations on European Directives, all of RoHS implementation, and on most aspects of UK implementation of WEEE. The Environment Agency (SEPA in Scotland and EHS in Northern Island) are the enforcement agencies for WEEE. Responsibility for enforcement of the RoHS directive has yet to be allocated by the DTI.
Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs UK (DEFRA)
leads on certain aspects of domestic implementation, including drawing up guidance on how WEEE must be treated, waste permitting, and assessing producers’ compliance with the collection, recycling, and recovery targets. The Environment Agency (SEPA in Scotland, EHS in Northern Island) enforce these aspects.
The EC member states
are reporting progress towards implementation and enforcement of the WEEE and RoHS directives. Because of the organizational, resource, legal, and implementation challenges, the effective details for registration, collection, and enforcement vary considerably. The "Perchards Report" is monitoring and reporting individual state progress. The DTI commissioned this to provide a series of short factual reports on existing WEEE-related measures and the types of transposition plans that were developing in other member states. The last report was filed in November 2005.
Good choice of words. Yes, it is a level playing field. Everyone has to meet the same requirements as in the CE marking requisites. With all the environmental legislation being introduced and maintained, the enforcement becomes a critical issue. With the responsibility to anticipate and fund all the recycling cost being shifted to the producer or agent of the product, the EU has made a brilliant move in reducing their own cost burden, and imagine the benefits derived from every qualifying product having at a minimum 55% of the component material as classified, "recyclable". How this plays into the counterfeit electronic parts supply chain invasion, will be worth watching in itself. If you can reuse a microprocessor, is that considered, "recycled" material? Should there be a marking on recycled components like we have for recycled paper? This raises a lot of sticky wicket questions...What do you think?
A lot of good facts here. What is the level of industry involvement in developing these standards?
I know industrial standards bodies are sometimes dominated by major players in the industry who skew the rules to their advantage. Are there indications of that giong on in this area or is it more or less a level playing field?
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.