The European Commission is currently holding a public consultation as part of its evaluation of Directive 2011/65/EU on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (“RoHS”). The consultation closes at midnight on 6 December 2019.

RoHS lays down rules on the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (“EEE”) with the aim of protecting human health and the environment. RoHS restricts the use of 10 substances: lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and since July 2019, the use of four phthalates. The scope of EEE covered by the restrictions was extended in July 2019 to cover all EEE not specifically exempted.

The purpose of the consultation is for the European Commission to gather views on how RoHS works in practice and to help it assess what works well, what doesn’t and why.

This is an important opportunity for stakeholders to have their say and help shape future policy and law in this area.

Some broad areas that stakeholders may want to provide input on include:

  • Effectiveness: has RoHS had a negative impact on innovation? Are there any impacts on exports to or imports from third countries?
  • Efficiency: what are the costs associated with compliance? Has RoHS led to an unnecessary burden or made the system unnecessarily complex?
  • Coherence: are there any unnecessary overlaps, gaps or contradictions within RoHS or between RoHS and other EU laws?
  • Relevance: do the issues or problems addressed by RoHS still exist and is RoHS adequate to address those issues? Does the list of restricted substances require any modifications (e.g. changes in concentration values, de-listing certain substances etc.)?
  • Are there any areas where clarity would be helpful? Are there any grey zones or ambiguities that cause issues in practice? In our view, it would be helpful for product manufacturers to have extra clarity around the consequences of “technical” breaches where risks created are very small in practice.

To get involved and have your say, you can contribute to the consultation by completing an on-line questionnaire until 6 December (midnight Brussels time) available here.

In addition to the public consultation, the European Commission will be holding targeted interviews with authorities and key stakeholders. A stakeholder conference is also planned to discuss conclusions from the evaluation and potential policy options for the future.

For further information on the European Commission’s evaluation of RoHS see here