Amend­ment of the Regu­la­ti­on on Hazar­dous Sub­s­tances in Elec­tri­cal and Elec­tro­nic Equipment

Back­ground and sel­ec­ted innovations

On account of new Euro­pean Direc­ti­ves on the Modi­fi­ca­ti­on of Direc­ti­ve 2011/65/EU (RoHS II), the Regu­la­ti­on on Hazar­dous Sub­s­tances in Elec­tri­cal and Elec­tro­nic Equip­ment is now being amen­ded. Among other things, the chan­ges rela­te to the repla­ce­ment parts mar­ket and the second-hand trade. 

The starting-point for this modi­fi­ca­ti­on of the legal situa­ti­on is the RoHS II Direc­ti­ve. This direc­ti­ve sti­pu­la­tes at Euro­pean level that elec­tri­cal and elec­tro­nic equip­ment, inclu­si­ve of cables and repla­ce­ment parts for the repair, the reu­se, the updating of func­tions or the impro­ve­ment of per­for­mance capa­bi­li­ty, having been pla­ced on the mar­ket, is only allo­wed to con­tain cer­tain sub­s­tances in a maxi­mum con­cen­tra­ti­on spe­ci­fied in the direc­ti­ve. In Ger­ma­ny, the direc­ti­ve is imple­men­ted by the Regu­la­ti­on on Hazar­dous Sub­s­tances in Elec­tri­cal and Elec­tro­nic Equip­ment. The amend­ments to the RoHS II Direc­ti­ve which were made last year are now being imple­men­ted in this natio­nal regu­la­ti­on ([EU] 2017/2102[EU] 2017/10092017/10102017/1011 and 2017/1975).

Indi­vi­du­al amendments

Machi­nes con­nec­ted by cable which are not desi­gned for road traf­fic and are made available exclu­si­ve­ly for pro­fes­sio­nal use will in future no lon­ger come under the direc­ti­ve. This fol­lows from the defi­ni­tio­nal amend­ment of Art. 3 No. 28 of the RoHS II Direc­ti­ve. At pre­sent, in accordance with Art. 2 IV g) of the RoHS II Direc­ti­ve, only machi­nes with ‘their own ener­gy sup­p­ly’ are exempt; howe­ver, in future the direc­ti­ve will no lon­ger app­ly to ‘machi­nes with their own ener­gy sup­p­ly or with exter­nal power sup­p­ly via power cable’ eit­her. This means that in future also machi­nes con­nec­ted by cable which are not desi­gned for road traf­fic and are made available exclu­si­ve­ly for pro­fes­sio­nal use will ‘escape’ regu­la­ti­on under the RoHS II Direc­ti­ve. Moreo­ver, the modi­fi­ca­ti­on of the tran­si­tio­nal regu­la­ti­ons has also led to the amend­ment of an exemp­ti­on (Art. 4 IV a) of the RoHS II Direc­ti­ve. This sta­tes that the spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­ons of the direc­ti­ve as regards sub­s­tances do not app­ly to cables or repla­ce­ment parts for the repair, reu­se, updating of func­tions or impro­ve­ment of per­for­mance capa­bi­li­ty of any other elec­tri­cal or elec­tro­nic equip­ment pla­ced on the mar­ket pri­or to 22 July 2019 which do not come under the scope of the RoHS I Direc­ti­ve. This will pre­vent secon­da­ry mar­ket acti­vi­ties such as the resa­le, second-hand trade or repair in respect of older devices from being pro­hi­bi­ted as from 22 July 2019, which would have been the case under the pre­vious regu­la­ti­on. Moreo­ver, addi­ti­ons have also been made which ren­der it easier to reu­se dis­as­sem­bled repla­ce­ment parts. The other amend­ments rela­te to exemp­ti­ons from indi­vi­du­al sub­s­tance rest­ric­tions which are adapt­ed to the cur­rent sta­te of tech­no­lo­gy and sub­ject to a time limit. For exam­p­le, the modi­fi­ca­ti­ons include an exemp­ti­on for the use of cad­mi­um sele­ni­de in illu­mi­na­ted displays. 


The amend­ments cited here can be regard­ed as pro­vi­ding some reli­ef in view of the fact that the­re will not be a ban on the resa­le of elec­tri­cal and elec­tro­nic equip­ment or the sup­p­ly of repla­ce­ment parts for the repair of such devices; to that ext­ent the secon­da­ry mar­ket is pro­tec­ted. The pre­ven­ti­on of pos­si­ble mar­ket dis­tor­ti­ons in the case of machi­nes con­nec­ted by cable can also be view­ed as making good sen­se. Howe­ver, eco­no­mic ope­ra­tors affec­ted by this should pay heed to the new exemp­ti­ons from the rest­ric­tions in order to avo­id fines of up to 100,000 euros.


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