WEEE and RoHS Directives

Directive 2002/96/EC on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Directive 2002/95/EC on the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in Electrical and Electronic Equipment initially entered into force on February 13, 2003, but are undergoing the latest round of revisions.

WEEE Directive
The WEEE Directive aims to prevent the generation of electrical and electronic waste and to promote re-use, recycling, and other forms of recovery in order to reduce the quantity of waste discarded. The legislation provides for the creation of collection schemes where consumers return their used e-waste free of charge. The Directive sets out collection requirements and a minimum collection target of 4 kg per inhabitant per year for WEEE from private households.

The European Commission published its draft legislative proposal for a recast of the WEEE Directive on December 3, 2008. The review focuses on five key areas: RoHS-related scope, collection targets, recovery and recycling targets (for Member States), treatment requirements, and a range of producer responsibility provisions. Labeling and technical requirements for storage and treatment of WEEE will remain unchanged. The legislative review will follow the co-decision process and the outcome will likely result in changes to the WEEE Directive.  The new rules will probably take effect in 2012-2013. Significant changes such as a broader scope and increased requirements for equipment collection are expected to be made during this procedure.

For more information on the revision and the proposed modifications, visit:

RoHS Directive
The RoHS Directive is intended to restrict the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. This increases the protection of human health and aids the environmentally-sound recovery and disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment. RoHS bans the use of four heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, and hexavalent chromium) and two categories of brominated flame retardants (PBBs and PBDEs) put on the market after July 1, 2006.

The Commission is recasting RoHS as part of its overall commitment for a better regulatory environment and published the legislative proposal for review on December 3, 2008. The reforms cover improvements in implementation, enforcement, and coherence.

Experience with the first years of implementation and two extensive stakeholder consultations in the run-up to the recast revealed implementation-related problems. These challenges included difficulties in whether certain products fall within the scope, too many non-compliant products, and differences between Member States' methods for assessing product compliance and carrying out market surveillance. There is also a potential for confusion over the relation between RoHS and newer policies and legislation covering for example, chemicals, which increased the risk of inadequate or inefficient implementation of the RoHS Directive. These challenges will be addressed in the recast process. The legislative review will follow the co-decision process.

The RoHS Directive exempts certain applications from the RoHS substance restrictions. The exemptions are temporary and reviewed at least every four years. The current list of ROHS exemptions was published in the EU Official Journal of September 24, 2010 (exemptions 1 to 39), with a corrigendum on September 29, 2010. These exemptions have been listed in Annex III to ROHS II (Directive 2011/65/EU of 8 June 2011). New exemptions: ROHS exemptions published in the EU Official Journal of September 8, 2011 (exemptions 7(c)-IV on lead, and 40 on cadmium).

For more information on the revision and the proposed modifications, visit