RoHS Directive: Use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment

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The RoHS Directive restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. Within Germany, it is transposed into national law by ElektroStoffV (German Electronic Equipment Substances Ordinance). The aim is to regulate, restrict and, where possible, avoid the use of harmful or hazardous substances. Hazardous substances include mercury, lead, hexavalent chromium and cadmium. Plasticisers and brominated flame retardants are also affected. The directive provides for a gradually extended list of hazardous substances. As a distributor or manufacturer, you may only use these substances in electrical and electronic equipment up to certain maximum concentration values.

Before electrical and electronic equipment is placed on the market, distributors, manufacturers and importers are obliged to ensure compliance with the RoHS Directive and ElektroStoffV. You are therefore subject to the CE Marking obligation as proof of conformity with the substance restriction. This is the responsibility of the manufacturer.

Do you have any questions about the legal requirements or your obligations, or do you need assistance with registration and approval? We’ll help you – nationally and worldwide:

  • Clarification of legal manufacturer obligations according to RoHS or related national legislation
  • Evaluation analysis of time limits and deadlines, requirements for information documents and possible exceptions.
  • Acquisition and processing of the necessary information from the manufacturer’s supply chain and in the preparation of technical documentation.
  • Communication with the relevant national and international authorities

As an authorised representative of the manufacturer of electrical and electronic products, we are the addressee for enquiries and clarifications from the authorities.

The following also applies:

As they overlap in certain areas, it should be checked at the same time whether registration in accordance with the WEEE Directive and/or an insolvency-proof guarantee are necessary. Deutsche Recycling is the partner by your side. Just get in touch with us!


don`t forget your WEEE registration

Background information about RoHS: Obligations & useful information


RoHS Directive: An overview
RoHS & WEEE: Together for a better environment
RoHS international: Comparable regulations in other countries


RoHS Directive: An overview

The RoHS Directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) is an EU directive that concerns the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment on an international level. Since its introduction, all manufacturers, distributors and importers of electrical products containing hazardous substances have had to comply with this directive, which bears the precise designation 2011/65/EU (RoHS2) in its current version.

Over the course of its entire validity, more and more product categories have been added to the RoHS Directive. In 2014, for example, medical devices and non-industrial control and monitoring instruments were added, which, in turn, will be expanded in 2019 to include industrial control and monitoring instruments.

Reducing pollutants in equipment is intended to make the recycling of electrical and electronic products more environmentally friendly. Harmful effects on human health and nature are also to be reduced. What’s more, the RoHS Directive sets down obligations for you as a manufacturer to pay attention to CE Marking and to carry out conformity assessment procedures.

RoHS & WEEE: Together for a better environment

The RoHS Directive plays an important role in the EU legal basis for the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment. It should therefore be seen in the context of the WEEE Directive . This EU directive, also known as Directive 2012/19/EU, concerns waste electrical and electronic equipment in particular. Together, the two directives are oriented towards the prudent use of natural resources. Both pursue the goal of improving and increasing the recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment.

The RoHS and the WEEE directives are both implemented nationally in the EU member states. While the RoHS Directive is implemented in Germany by ElektroStoffV (German Electronic Equipment Substances Ordinance), the WEEE Directive is implemented by ElektroG (German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act). With the implementation of ElektroStoffV into German law, the requirements formulated according to RoHS have been binding in Germany since 9th May 2013.

The previous RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC was implemented in Germany by the substance bans of Section 5 of ElektroG (German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act). However, this paragraph was replaced and repealed with ElektroStoffV.

RoHS international: Comparable regulations in other countries

As an EU directive, RoHS 2011/65/EU (RoHS2) is valid in all EU member states. Some countries outside the EU have also issued comparable regulations to reduce hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

ChemRRV (Swiss Ordinance on Chemical Risk Reduction), for example, contains regulations on the handling of hazardous substances. These are listed in two annexes and refer to certain substances or groups of substances. The Ordinance regulates licensing requirements and conditions for the use of certain substances and agents, including disinfectants and pesticides. ChemRRV incorporates the provisions of the European RoHS Directive into Swiss national law. ChemRRV also applies in Liechtenstein.

In Asia, South Korea and China have similar regulations. Several environmental protection laws have been in force in the People’s Republic since March 2007 with China RoHS. This includes several substance bans for industry and also provides for certification and labelling obligations. Customs controls are also performed. The scope of China RoHS is comparable to the European directive with regard to its substance classes. It also contains requirements regarding recycling, environmental compatibility and energy efficiency.

In Korea, a law that is colloquially referred to as Korea RoHS has also been in force since 2008. The law largely adopts the EU directives RoHS, WEEE and the ELV end-of-life vehicle directive. However, unlike China RoHS, this law does not provide for product labels.

don`t forget your WEEE registration