Then there are household products, appliances that buzz and whirr, like refrigerators and washing machines; smaller essentials like hair dryers, coffee makers and power tools. They too act as currents that support our modern lifestyle.
However, like all products, they have an expiration date. Eventually, they become lumps of lifeless material requiring disposal. All too often they end their life in a landfill, creating hazards to the environment and the human health.
Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) makes up one of the largest -- and fastest growing -- waste streams in the world. As early as 2005, about 9 million tons of electrical waste was generated cumulatively by EU countries; and by 2020, the yearly average is expected to rise to 12 million.
Proper disposal of EEE and the management of their component materials are of the utmost concern, not only to environmental specialists, but to the growing populace of informed, conscientious consumers.
Over the last two decades, the European Union has taken a lead role in this respect, with two critical directives covering the creation and disposal of EEEs:
These directives came into being back in 2003, and have seen several legislative reiterations meant to bolster product coverage, record-keeping requirements, enforcement and, as stated in Directive 2012/19/EU: “improve the environmental performance of all operators involved in the life cycle of EEE, e.g. producers, distributors and consumers and, in particular, those operators directly involved in the collection and treatment of WEEE.”
RoHS imposes restrictions on the use of hazardous materials in all EEE products, enforcing manufacturers to find alternatives to such substances as Heavy Metals (lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium); and Flame Retardants (polybrominated biphenyl and polybrominated diphenyl ether). Plus, as of July 2019, four types of phthalates will be officially added to this list.
To certify their compliance with RoHS requirements, manufacturers are required to prepare a RoHS Compliance Statement. This is not a one-off compliance measure, as changes to RoHS, such as the addition of the four types of phthalates mentioned above, may render your earlier RoHS statement insufficient, depending on the date your product is placed on the market. For more information concerning your Compliance statement, contact us.
The WEEE Directive has put a start to collection schemes that allow consumers to return their electronic waste free of charge. It has evolved into more specific standards for the treatment of various substances found in spent EEEs, along with an established methodology for the calculation of total WEEE volume for each member state.
There is a total of 11 EEE categories -- established under the WEEE directive -- impacted by RoHS compliance. Here are examples for the 7 most common product categories:
As RoHS and WEEE accountability measures mature, it is important to be 100% certain about your product before it makes its journey to the EU shores. As methodologies standardize and strengthen, so too will enforcement measures. As these are directives, each Member State is responsible for establishing its own set of penalties, but they appear to lean towards costly fines for negligence and even jail time for willful deception.
Going beyond the financial cost of compliance failures, your most important asset, brand reputation, can take a non-recoverable hit from failure to meet the EU market requirements.
Information sharing between Member States and today’s speed of media exposure will guarantee you the spotlight you don’t want.
That is why assured, up to the minute compliance on the factory floor is integral to your success. Testing with QIMA allows you to integrate your RoHS testing during your Product Inspection, guaranteeing that the sample is from your actual production run, not some “perfect” sample the factory wants you to test.
Our online platform and mobile application make it easy for you to schedule RoHS Compliance tests and receive your results at any time. Book new tests, view pending orders, and access results from your mobile device. Our online platform provides valuable supply chain insights, including a summary of your QC activity, all of your supplier’s quality stats, industry benchmarking data, and more.
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