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] 2017/1009, 2017/1010, 2017/1011 and 2017/1975).
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.back