Article

Ireland and United Kingdom Enforce Further Regulations Impacting Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE)

Posted on: August 6, 2019

by Susana Planas MunGavin

Electrical circuit board - Learn more about Ireland and United Kingdom Enforce Further Regulations Relating to Restrictions on the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE)In the United Kingdom, the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (S.I. No. 492 of 2019) of March 4, 2019 came into force on June 12, 2019. They amend the Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012, S.I. No. 3032.

Both Ireland’s and the United Kingdom’s 2019 Regulations give effect to the provisions of Commission Directive (EU) 2017/2102 of 15 November 2017 amending Directive 2011/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. It is a recast of the RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC, referred to as “RoHS 2 recast.” RoHS 2 Directive 2011/65/EU came into force on July 21, 2011. Ireland and the UK implemented RoHS 2 recast through the 2012 Regulations.

Scope

From July 22, 2019 onward, the recast RoHS 2 applies to a broader scope of EEE as a result of the definition for dependency on electricity, including medical devices and monitoring and control instruments, previously excluded from the scope of RoHS 1. There are 11 product categories including:

  1. Large household appliances
  2. Small household appliances
  3. IT and telecommunications equipment
  4. Consumer equipment
  5. Lighting equipment, including electric lightbulbs and household luminaries
  6. Electrical and electronic tools, with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tools
  7. Toys, leisure and sports equipment
  8. Medical devices, including in vitro diagnostic medical devices
  9. Monitoring and control instruments, including industrial monitoring and control instruments
  10. Automatic dispensers
  11. Other EEE not covered by any of the categories above.

Pipe organs are excluded from the scope of product categories listed under RoHS 2, Schedule 2. Industry recognizes that, due to their lead component requirements, it would be very challenging to meet the RoHS requirements on lead restrictions.

Substance Restrictions

The hazardous substances restriction regulated under RoHS 2 applies to all EEE placed on the EU market regardless of whether they are produced in the EU or imported. It aims at improving the safety of electronic products by avoiding the use of certain hazardous substances during production and preventing them from being released into the environment, ensuring that they do not further contaminate the waste stream after the equipment is disposed of at end of life.

RoHS 2 requires EEE producers, including manufacturers, authorized representatives, importers or distributors, to ensure that products placed on the market, whether placed on the market for the first time or as a result of secondary market operations, comply with the hazardous restrictions established in Annex II.

Substance Threshold
Lead 0.1%
Mercury 0.1%
Cadmium 0.01%
Hexavalent chromium 0.1%
Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) 0.1%
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) 0.1%
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) 0.1%
Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) 0.1%
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) 0.1%
Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP) 0.1%

DEHP, BBP, DBP, and DIBP, which are often used to soften PVC components in EEE, were added to Annex II under Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2015/863.  The restrictions for these phthalates apply to EEE (Product categories 1-7, 10 and 11) as of July 22, 2019. These restrictions will be in effect for medical devices (Category 8) and monitoring and control instruments (Category 9) on July 22, 2021.

Cables and Spare Parts

As of July 22, 2019, hazardous substance restrictions apply to all cables or spare parts for the repair, the reuse, the updating of functionalities or upgrading of capacity, of all other EEE that was outside the scope of RoHS 1. Except, those placed on the market before July 1, 2006 and used in equipment before July 1, 2016 are excluded from RoHS requirements.

However, compliance of products recovered from secondary market operations is not always possible. The inability to repair or upgrade recovered equipment due to non-compliance with RoHS 2 would not be beneficial from both an environmental and economic perspective.

RoHS 2 restrictions have proven to be inconsistent with the general principles underlying European Union measures for the approximation of laws relating to products and have been identified to be hampering secondary market operations. In order to prevent severely affecting the recovery and reuse of EEE through second-hand sales of equipment coming within the scope of RoHS 2 as of July 22, 2019, transitional periods were introduced in order to comply with the 2009 Regulations in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Transition periods for complying with the hazardous substance restrictions applicable to reused spare parts recovered from EEE depend on the source of the recovered parts and when the EEE were first placed on the market.

Reused spare parts recovered from… Placed on the market prior to Transition period ends
…medical devices or monitoring and control instruments July 22, 2014 July 22, 2024
…in vitro diagnostic medical devices July 22, 2016 July 22, 2026
…industrial monitoring and control instruments July 22, 2017 July 22, 2027
…all other EEE that was outside the scope of Directive 2002/95/EC July 22, 2019 July 22, 2029

In the UK, the Office for Product Safety and Standards of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is the appointed authority for the enforcement of RoHS Regulations.

In Ireland, the appointed authority is the Environmental Protection Agency.

Recommended Action Items

  • Producers of EEE manufactured, imported or distributed on the markets in the United Kingdom and Ireland must ensure that only RoHS 2 compliant products are placed on the market, not exceeding the maximum permitted limits of any of the regulated hazardous substances, including the phthalate restrictions now in effect.
  • Manufacturers are required to withdraw all non-compliant products and take immediate action to bring the product into conformity. Manufacturers should inform the competent authorities and distributors of any recalled EEE.
  • Importers and distributors are required to ensure that non-compliant products are not placed on the market and take immediate action to bring the products into conformity.

References:

European Union

Directive 2011/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2011 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (recast)

Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2015/863 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2015

Ireland

European Union (Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment) (Amendment) Regulations 2019.  S.I No. 246 of 2019

European Union (Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Regulations 2012.  S.I No. 513 of 2012

United Kingdom

Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Amendment) Regulations 2019.  S.I. No. 492 of 2019

Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012. S.I No. 3032 of 2012

Keywords:

  • Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE)
  • European Union
  • Ireland
  • Product recall
  • Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS
  • United Kingdom

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