RoHS and WEEE Directives
In an effort to reduce the use of hazardous materials in electronic equipment as well as to encourage the recycling of these products, the European Union enacted legislation in 2003 that restricts the use of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and creates a directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). These Directives are some of the most significant developments in electronics legislation to happen in many years.
Directive 2002/95/EC – RoHS
Restriction on the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment.
Commonly referred to as the “Lead-Free” Directive or Initiative, this vigorous movement aims to eliminate the use of lead in wave solder alloys. By doing this however, PCB manufacturers are turning to new lead-free solders that call for higher temperatures to work. Electronic Imaging Materials, Inc. solves this latest requirement by offering new Kapton® polyimides, engineered to handle increased temperatures with less discoloring, less label curl and more chemical and solvent resistance.
The RoHS Directive actually pertains to six banned substances – not just lead. Producers of certain electrical and electronic equipment will not be allowed to place their products on the market unless specific exemptions apply. The ban includes the use of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDE). This Directive went into effect July 1, 2006 and affects any goods made worldwide and distributed in Europe.
In order to assure compliance, suppliers will be requested to provide a formal Declaration that their products do not contain any of these hazardous materials. EIM is prepared to help our customers deal with the labeling portion of their products and will provide appropriate documentation. These declarations and any associated analysis data should be retained in a technical file that authorities will expect to see during an inspection.
Directive 2002/96/EC – WEEE
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive
WEEE aims to minimize the impact of electrical and electronic equipment on the environment as it is used and when it becomes waste. It promotes and sets criteria for the collection, treatment, recycling and recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment. It encourages designers to create products with recycling in mind and makes producers (Manufacturers and Importers) responsible for financing most of these activities so that private householders are to be able to return WEEE without charge.
RoHS supports this recycling movement by reducing the amount of hazardous chemicals used in production, which in turn, reduces the risk of exposure, special handling requirements and eventually leads to savings in recycling costs.