RoHS | October 13, 2005
Mixed progress in RoHS compliance<br> among European member states
The progress in RoHS compliance differs among the European member states.
Overall the European countries are well prepared to meet the European Commission's directives WEEE and RoHS. Some are though better prepared than others and some will definetly not reach compliance in time. "In general, European countries are adhering to the [European] Commission's directives," said Geoffrey Bock, program manager for WEEE and RoHS implementation consultancy at TUV Rheinland of North America, to EETimes. Bock explains the rules: "If an American manufacturer sells to Europe it must manufacture by the European Commission's directives. If it sells to a country with no such directives it uses whatever it wants. If a European manufacturer is selling to a country outside the EU that does not require adherence to the use of hazardous substances, it uses what it likes." Malta and Poland are two countries who have had their WEEE compliance period extended by two years. Their reasons for not reaching WEEE compliance in time were their lack of infrastructure to collect and sort the electronics waste. The situation in the UK is getting better. The UK Department of Trade and Industry(DTI) said that "all the WEEE Directive's implementation requirements would not be met by the U.K. on August 13, although the making of equipment would be". The directive will be transposed into UK law sometime in 2005 and the take-back obligations and the producer responsibility will be introduced by January 2006. DTI also reported that RoHS compliance will be in time. In France full implementation is expected to lag slightly due to the difficulties in creating a fully operational collection infrastructure. The remaining countries are handling the compliance process in a variety of ways. Germany for instance has transposed the directive into law but the full implementation is expected to be postponed. The German customers will be able to return their waste electrical and electronical equipment free of charge at recycling facilities as of March 24, 2006. One product that will be affected by the environmental regulations is the mobile phone. The price of the mobile handset is expected to increase by $10 per unit due to the higher prices on the new RoHS compliant components in the manufacturing such as the new solder joint alloys.