Dick HaneyRoHS and WEEE compliance verification Manager’s Choice.  Consulting specialist in product development, process development & technical management covering the product lifecycle: What is the best, legal way to verify any manufacturer’s claim that the electronic components and sub-assemblies they produce and sell (e.g., to system integrators) comply with RoHS and WEEE requirements?
 Charlie BlackhamCharlie Blackham CE Marking & Product Approvals Consultant Top Contributor

It depends on who you are buying from 🙂 
There is now a Harmonised Standard, EN 50581:2012, that may be used to demonstrate compliance with the RoHS Direcitve and this sets out a four stages process:
Determine the information needed 

  • Collect the information 
  • Evaluate the information with regard to its quality and trustworthiness 
  • Review the technical documentation to ensure it remains valid

The standard doesn’t actually tell you how to define “sufficient quality and trustworthiness” – the manufacturer will have to do that themselves and the level required will depend, in part, on the risk of a restricted substance actually being present in the part.
Also, worth reading the Commission’s FAQ, if you haven’t already: 

  • Franco Costantini. Field Services Manager Europe at CSA Group — MBA, M.Res, M.Eng

    reg the WEEE regulation, I don’t think (please tell me if i am wrong) it is possible to verify the effective compliance to it. One could probably verify if a manufacturer joined a producer take back scheme or something like that, but I suppose it is really difficult to verify for example if the waste generated from its products is taken back, processed, accounted for, disposed accordingly etc…

  • Tony Stanley. Regulatory Engineer (American Dynamics) at Tyco Fire & Security

    There are no real requirements for components on WEEE, it merely states that the ‘product design should take recycling into account’. You make available ‘information for recyclers’ which is usually the location of any annex II items (Mercury, batteries, PCBs etc). Not sure what the annex is for the new WEEE directive, but seems to be the same list. WEEE is really about the producer funding recycling.
    Regarding RoHS, it does not apply to components, which is an important concept that components are neither compliant nor non-compliant for several reasons. You do need to know their RoHS status or when their ‘compliance’ might go out of date, especially if you hold stock for more than a few weeks. RoHS applies to finished goods when you place them on the EU market and it is a changing regulation with exemptions expiring and new materials to be added in future.
    To answer your question, the main approach specified by the RoHS-2 directive is to request or commision a test report. A component (in your product on the market) with a suitable test report is presumed to conform, although you should judge the appropriateness of the test report, recent? traceable to the item? etc.
    A common practice is to use XRF screening which for about £30,000 can detect element concentration, but it maybe inconclusive and more detailed tests require specialist labs. It will also not be suitable for certain items and exemptions (eg Mercury in lights is limited mass per light, not a concentration).
    You don’t need a test report for everything if you follow EN50581, but you need a material risk approach as well as a supplier risk approach. These are the difficult parts.

  • I should add that there is no special allowance for complex sub-assemblies, but they are more difficult to deal with and test. However a test report is still apparently acceptable, but rare. I would be looking for a supplier to provide a material declaration with exemptions listed, a declaration listing EN50581 as a compliance approach (definately required if the item is already CE marked like a PC graphic card), or a brute force 100% component test reports. Additionally membership of substance database scheme by the suppliers will keep them informed of the current and future requirements, which is half the battle. 
    Just asking for these things can add significantly to your diligence. I found a LCD module supplier providing a declaration with no exemptions, when I asked if they used a Mercury free backlight a test report appeared showing the exemption was ‘in spec’.

Electronic Waste Disposal, Recycling and Data Destruction


In the developed world today, it may seem like almost everyone has a cell phone, and technology companies are always coming up with newer models which are better than the ones which came before it and have more features —meaning that there are always cell phones being disposed of. Unfortunately, many people just throw them out in the trash without knowing the dangers. It’s not only that cell phones add extra mass to the already ever-growing landfill sites, but also that they can contaminate groundwater and the surrounding environments by releasing the toxic substances used to build these cell phones.


Many cell phone batteries contain Arsenic, a highly poisonous substance, which, if allowed to leak out into the environment, can cause severe skin problems even at low levels of exposure. Cell phone batteries also contain lead, as does the solder used in putting together certain parts of the handset. Lead can damage the nervous system of humans and animals, as well as causing extensive damage to any local plant life. Disastrously, up to 40% of all of the lead found in landfill sites are from consumer electronics.


Mercury is found in many different parts of a cellphone, and because it is in a liquid form at room temperature, it can very easily find its way into streams and rivers. From there, it starts to build up and finds its way into the food chain. To put it bluntly, fish ingests it and then we consume fish. Mercury can cause all sorts of problems to health as a result of exposure which range from brain damage, to birth defects and miscarriage.


Many cell phone carriers will be able to help you recycle your old handset, so it is worth contacting them first, and even if they can’t help directly, they will be able to put you in contact with someone who can. Think before you trash and be very mindful of e-waste disposal!



European Recycling Platfomr (ERP) logró reciclar 2 millones de toneladas de RAEEE

ImagenEuropean Recycling Platform (ERP), único SIG paneuropeo de residuos de aparatos eléctricos y electrónicos (RAEE) y residuos de pilas y baterías (RPA) que opera en España, ha conseguido reciclar dos millones de toneladas de RAEE en Europa. ERP se ha convertido así, en la primera entidad en alcanzar esta cifra, todo un hito en el sector.

Los beneficios de reciclar dos millones de toneladas de RAEE equivaldrían a la retirada de ocho millones de coches de la carretera durante un año en toda Europa.

Desde el inicio de su actividad en el año 2002, ERP ha recogido en Europa 26 millones de televisores, 45 millones de pequeños electrodomésticos, 11,5 millones de grandes electrodomésticos y 8 millones de frigoríficos.

“Estamos muy satisfechos con este logro”, ha declarado Umberto Raiteri, presidente y CEO de ERP Europa. “La vida media de los aparatos eléctricos ha disminuido de forma considerable con el lanzamiento continuo de cada vez más nuevos y mejores productos al mercado. Los consumidores quieren tener lo último y se deshacen de los modelos que van quedando obsoletos. Este ciclo continuo representa un reto para la sociedad, que debe gestionar adecuadamente esta cantidad creciente de residuos que produce”.

El reciclado de dos millones de toneladas de RAEE ha evitado la emisión a la atmósfera de 21,7 millones de toneladas de CO2 equivalente, principalmente gracias a la eliminación de 3.000 toneladas de gases de efecto invernadero como por ejemplo los CFC, unos gases altamente contaminantes presentes en los frigoríficos más antiguos, pero también gracias a la recuperación de materias primas en el proceso del reciclado de estos residuos.


“El proceso de separar y reutilizar materiales de equipos eléctricos al final de su vida útil conlleva multitud de beneficios y posibilita la reutilización de los escasos recursos del planeta. Por ello estamos tremendamente orgullosos de haber alcanzado esta cifra de reciclado de RAEE, que nos impulsa a seguir mejorando y avanzando, más aún en un año como 2014, en el que los países se encuentran inmersos en la trasposición de la nueva Directiva Europea de Residuos”, ha explicado Matias Rodrigues, director general de ERP España.

“ERP es el único sistema integrado paneuropeo posicionado para ayudar a la comunidad a gestionar los volúmenes de RAEE que se generan, así como a la industria europea a alcanzar el cumplimiento de los requisitos y objetivos establecidos por la normativa medioambiental”, ha añadido.

Algunas comparaciones indicativas de los beneficios que supone el reciclado de dos millones de toneladas de RAEE son:

  • Ahorro de 9.000 millones de kWh de energía primaria, equivalente al consumo de energía en 500.000 hogares durante un año.
  • Se ha recogido en peso el equivalente a 250.000 elefantes, 45.455 camiones articulados o 3.500 Airbus 380 con su carga completa, el mayor avión de pasajeros.
  • Se han recuperado 16 toneladas de oro, 130 toneladas de plata y 60.000 toneladas de cobre. Estos metales son utilizados posteriormente para producir nuevos aparatos eléctricos, evitando su extracción de las minas. Para extraer una onza de oro se destruye una tonelada de roca, mientras que una mina de oro a cielo abierto utiliza hasta 900.000 litros de agua al día.

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