The WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directives are being revised in an attempt to improve upon the text passed originally, now that initial lessons from implementation can be learned. At a first discussion on the topic in the European Parliament, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) considered how these two directives should be considered in relation to REACH, and also in relation to each other. In particular, expanding the scope of each directive was discussed as a potential revision.
With regards to the waste Directive, MEPs were particularly troubled by the finding that only 33-40% of eligible electric and electronic equipment was processed under WEEE regulations (despite 85% being collected). Additionally, MEPs advocated for harmonized enforcement across member states, as opposed to the wide variations observed currently.
With regards to RoHS, a major change proposed would be to shift the burden of proof to the manufacturer for obtaining an exemption which would allow them to use a banned substance in a particular application, rather than, as it currently stands, on the Commission. And although a binding list of chemicals to be regulated has been proposed, what this list would look like in reality was debated and discussed. However, MEPs agreed that having such a list would allow for more effective harmonization across member states and across different chemical regulations.
RoHS was also discussed in the European Parliament on November 18th, at a conference on greening consumer electronics that was organised by the International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec).
Written on 24 November 2009.