The DTI publishes the RoHS Regulations

United Kingdom

The Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS Directive) is one of the two main Directives aimed at increasing “producer responsibility” (the other is the WEEE Directive). The Directives aim to ensure that producers placing products on the market take responsibility for disposing and recycling those products once they have reached the end of their life.

The purpose of the RoHS Directive is to restrict the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment that is marketed in the EU. The idea is to minimise the impact on the environment when such equipment is disposed of at the end of its life.

The DTI published the RoHS Regulations on 21 October 2005 (SI 2005/2748) which will come into force on 1 July 2006. The Regulations provide that “a producer shall ensure that new electrical and electronic equipment put on the market on or after 1 July 2006 does not contain hazardous substances”. The regulations will therefore apply to relevant products created before 1 July 2006 but not put on the market until after that date.

IT equipment producers will need to ensure that they produce and market products which comply with the Directive and the Regulations. Not complying with the Regulations is a criminal offence which is punishable by a fine of up to £5000 for magistrates’ court hearings and an unlimited fine for crown court hearings.

This article first appeared in our Technology Annual Review, March 2006. To view this publication, please click here to open in a new window.