To provide a context for the need of environmental regulations, the rapid evolution of technology and the manufactured goods developed based on that technology causes increasing amounts of obsolete and discarded product.
This obsolete and discarded product, referred to as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is creating mountains of recycled product around the globe.
The disassembly of this recycled equipment is creating tremendous toxic waste because of the hazardous substances involved, which generates a risk for human health and the environment.
Due to the increased risks caused by the recycling of WEEE, individuals and governments have become more aware of the need for environmental protection and energy control. Governments are engaged in formulating regulations for reducing the significant growth of hazardous waste.
Industry is also involved with government and agency efforts for creating new legislation and regulations to address customer demands for greener supply and recycling chains. Regulations for the control of hazardous substances are proliferating around the world. Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) for electrical and electronic products and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) are just two of many regulations and restrictions put in place to address the growing worldwide concern.
These regulations, along with a variety of other international and national directives and regulations have been the driving force behind the HSF initiative. There have been significant milestones in the identification, control and management of hazardous substances, culminating in the inception and evolution of the Hazardous Substance Process Management (HSPM) program and HSF.
The major significant milestones are outlined below:
The RoHS Directive (Directive 2002/95/EC of the European Parliament) became effective for all EU States in July 2006. This directive specifies the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances and became known as RoHS. The directive also specifies that only compliant product can be distributed within the EU market. The aim of RoHS is to reduce the content of hazardous substances in waste, and therefore limit the presence of such substances in products and production processes.
It also establishes a program to combat environmental pollution by cadmium and stimulates research into substitutes in conjunction with the measures of collection, treatment, recycling and disposal of Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment (WEEE directive), reduce problems due to heavy metals and flame retardants. A stiffer version 2011/65/EU went into effect 21, July 2011.
The WEEE Directive (Directive 2002/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 on waste electrical and electronic equipment) was placed in force on August 13th, 2005 in all EU States, with the first priority of directive being the prevention of electric and electronic equipment waste.
The objective of the directive is to establish separate collection, treatment, recovery targets, financing from private household and others, information from users, and information from treatment facilities (end of life notice). A recent and much tighter rewrite of this became effective 12, Feb, 2014.
REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances) is a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). The new law entered into force on 1 June 2007. The aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. At the same time, innovative capability and competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry should be enhanced. The benefits of the REACH system will come gradually, as more and more substances are phased into REACH. The Regulation also calls for the progressive substitution of the most dangerous chemicals when suitable alternatives have been identified.
The Packaging Directive (Directive2005/20/EC of the European Parliament) was originally established as Directive 94/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 1994 on Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and was revised by Directive 2004/12/EC and Directive 2005/20/EC and article 11 was placed in force on July 1st, 2006. The objectives of the packaging directive are to address the environment and internal EU markets; establish and implement systems to collect used packaging; establish and implement recovery and recycling targets; establish packaging essential requirements; provide a guarantee of free movement of packaged goods and limit the content of Lead, Cadmium, Mercury and Hexavalent Chromium to Pb+Cd+Hg+Cr6 less than or equal to 100 ppm. An enhanced version will go into effect mid-2015.
The Battery Directive (Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006) regulates the manufacture and disposal of batteries and accumulators in the European Union. This directive repealed Directive 91/157/EEC, which was originally approved in March 1991 to reduce the hazards involved with the disposal of batteries by explicitly banning certain chemicals and metals used in batteries and setting maximum quantities of chemicals in batteries, as well as requiring waste management and take-back programs for batteries. A modified Directive 2008/12/EC was designed to cover all types of batteries regardless of their shape, volume, weight, material composition or use. The only exceptions are for batteries used in military and space equipment.
The End of Life Vehicles Directive (ELV) is a Directive of the European Union. The intent of the ELV directive is to address the issue of disposing of motor vehicles that have reached the end of their useful lives. Initially proposed by the European Commission in 1997, the legislation was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in September 2000. It was published on October 21st, 2000 (Directive 2000/53/EC - the "ELV Directive"). The objective of the ELV Directive is to prevent waste from end-of-life vehicles and promote the collection, re-use and recycling of their components to protect the environment. The Directive sets clear quantified targets for reuse, recycling and recovery of vehicles and their components and pushes producers to manufacture new vehicles also with a view to their recyclability. The rate of re-use and recovery must be increased to 85% by average weight per vehicle and by year 2006 and to 95% by 2015. Use of Lead, Mercury, Cadmium and Hexavalent Cromium will be prohibited in materials and components in vehicles put on the market after 1 July 2003. Member States must set up collection systems for end-of-life vehicles and ensure that all vehicles are transferred to authorized treatment facilities. The last holder of an end-of-life vehicle will be able to dispose it free of charge ("free take-back" principle).
China RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances), officially known as Administrative Measure on the Control of Pollution Caused by Electronic Information Products is a Chinese government regulation to control certain materials, including lead. China RoHS has similar restrictions as the EU, but has a somewhat different approach. China RoHS specifies a list of products, known as the "catalogue," rather than EU RoHS specifying categories where products are included unless specifically excluded. Some of the Electronic Information Products (EIPs) specified in China RoHS, which are not included on EU RoHS, such as radar systems, semiconductor-manufacturing equipment, photo-masks, etc. The Administrative Measures on the Control of Pollution Caused by Electronic Information Products (EIPs) was placed in force March 1st, 2007 and applies to producers and importers alike.
The scope of products is electronic information products only and includes radar products, electronic communications equipment, broadcast TV products, computers and accessories, household electronic products, electronic measurement instrument, electronic product for special use, instruments, electronic components, special materials, product accessories and packaging, and some industrial equipment. The same list of hazardous substances and other toxic substances are in effect as that defined by the EU states, but Hexavalent Chromium is allowed when used in metal passivation.
The requirements are different from EU RoHS and require a Mark and disclosure of any of the six identified hazardous substances and their locations within the product. Everything is controlled by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
Japans’Waste Management and Public Cleansing Law (Waste Management Law), established in 1970 along with other pollution-related laws in Japan, sets forth fundamental systems for the treatment of wastes. The purpose of this law is to restrict waste generation and ensure proper sorting, storage, collection, transportation, recycling, disposal, etc. of wastes for preservation of the living environment and public health improvement. Since enactment, the Waste Management Law has undergone major revisions in 1976, 1991, 1997 and 2000 in response to changes in the social situation.
More recently in 2006, the Law was revised to tighten treatment standards for wastes containing asbestos so as to prevent them from being released into the air and ensure proper treatment, since such wastes were expected to be generated in large amounts from dismantled buildings and health hazards resulting from asbestos became apparent.
This revision was made in connection with the establishment of formalities for the asbestos detoxification certification program. Since July 1, 2006, the new law identifies the same products and restricts the same hazardous substances as the EU RoHS. This law also provides for implementation of a labeling system for 6 hazardous substances (Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, PBB, PBDE), and hazardous substance restriction is effectively introduced through mandatory marking or labeling.
Koreas’ has enacted the Act for Resource Recycling of Electrical/Electronic Products and Automobiles of27 April 2007, for EEE and Automotive, which became effective in January 2008 and aligns with RoHS, WEEE and ELV. Application decrees are to be published in the future. Koreas’ Act for Resource Recycling of Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Vehicles Korea made legislation on Jan 1, 2008 containing elements of 4 European directives: WEEE, RoHS, ELV and EuP (Similar to Energy Star). And like the European WEEE and ELV it introduces the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) – a responsibility that expands not only on the life-time of a product but is extended to the time after its useful life. By establishing this responsibility also the Korean 'WEEE/RoHS/ELV' purports to give an incentive to manufacturers of EEE to take the recycling of the product into account already at the stage of design. Business risks that companies face for noncompliance are real and stiff and could include the following: Products prohibited from import, delay in putting the product on the market, reputation damage, lost market share, breach of contract and regulatory penalties. This Act has been in effect since 1 January 2008.The Law covers: Televisions, Refrigerators, Washing machines, Air conditioners, Personal computers, Audio products, Portable telephone units, Printers, copying machines and facsimile machines. The Korean 'RoHS' restricts the use of the same six hazardous substances as known from the EU. The 'producer/importer' of EEE has to meet requirements for:
(1) Compliance declaration regarding substances
(2) Recycling information for recyclers
(3) Recycling targets which are set every five years by the Ministry of Environment
(4) Recycling implementation plan.
(5) Recycling implementation report.
(6) Record Keeping
(7) Improvement of materials and structure according to a “Technical Guide” published by the ministry of the Environment
and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy.
California's Electronic Waste Recycling Act (EWRA) incorporates SB20, 2003 & SB 50, 2004 and has been in force since January 1, 2007. The EWRA is intended for certain Electronic Information Equipment (IT, Video, LCD TV, Laptop computers, DVD players, etc.) and specifies the same hazardous substance restrictions (lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium) and values as those specified by EU RoHS. The Act also requires retailers to collect an Electronic Waste Recycling Fee (effective January 1, 2005) from consumers who purchase covered devices.
Argentina introduced a bill (207/2006) in March 2006 which became the first national law in Latin America to implement waste management and hazardous substances reduction. It is equivalent to a joint EU RoHS and Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive jointly under one law.