Fact Sheet

EU Directives RoHS and WEEE: This is what Swiss firms needs to know

The EU directives RoHS II (2011/65/EU) and WEEE (2012/19/EU) of the European Commission restrict the usage of hazardous substances in electrical and eletronic equipment and manage their end of life of these devices to protect human health and the environment. Swiss companies need to adhere to these rules when doing business in the EU.

EU Directives RoHS/WEEE

RoHS II

The RoHS 2 Directive (2011/65/EU) lays down rules on the restriction of the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) with a view to contributing to the protection of human health and the environment, including the environmentally sound recovery and disposal of EEE waste.

Directive 2011/65/EU replaces the RoHS 1 Directive (2002/95/EC), which laid the foundation for restricting the use of hazardous substances in EEE. Directive 2011/65/EC has itself been amended and supplemented by subsequent directives. It is therefore necessary to refer to the latest consolidated version of the text available here, as well as to all subsequent amendments.   

On March 10, 2022, the European Commission launched a public consultation to enable all interested stakeholders to provide evidence and give views on the best options to improve the RoHS Directive. The consultation will end on June 2, 2022.   

Categories of EEE covered (Article 2 and Annex 1)

Directive 2011/65/EU covers, following a schedule of entry into force, the following categories of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE):

  • Large household appliances 
  • Small household appliances  
  • IT and telecommunications equipment 
  • Consumer equipment 
  • Lighting equipment 
  • Electrical and electronic tools 
  • Toys, leisure and sports equipment 
  • Medical devices 
  • Monitoring and control instruments including industrial monitoring and control instruments 
  • Automatic dispensers 
  • Other EEE not covered by any of the categories above

Directive 2011/65/EU also applies to cables and spare parts (subject to certain exceptions described in Article 4, paragraphs 4 to 6 of the RoHS 2 directive).

The Directive does not apply to:

  • equipment which is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the Member States, including arms, munitions and war material intended for specifically military purposes;
  • equipment designed to be sent into space;
  • equipment which is specifically designed to be installed as part of another type of equipment that is excluded or does not fall within the scope of this Directive, which can fulfill its function only if it is part of that other equipment and which can be replaced only by the same specifically designed equipment;
  • large-scale stationary industrial tools;
  • large-scale fixed installations;
  • means of transport for persons or goods, excluding electric two-wheel vehicles which are not type-approved;
  • non-road mobile machinery made available exclusively for professional use;
  • active implantable medical devices;
  • photovoltaic panels intended to be used in a system that is designed, assembled and installed by professionals for permanent use at a defined location to produce energy from solar light for public, commercial, industrial and residential applications;
  • equipment specifically designed solely for the purposes of research and development and only made available on a business-to-business basis;
  • pipe organs!

WEEE

The first directive aimed at financing and ensuring the collection of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment came into force on February 13, 2003 (WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC). It was subsequently replaced by Directive 2012/19/EU which introduced higher collection and recovery targets for WEEE.

For the purposes of the Directive, electrical and electronic equipment means equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work properly and equipment for the generation, transfer and measurement of such currents and fields and designed for use with a voltage rating not exceeding 1,000 volts for alternating current and 1,500 volts for direct current.

From 2018, the scope of the directive was extended to include all categories of electrical and electronic waste, as defined in Annex III. There are six categories of EEE:

Categories of EEE covered

  • Temperature exchange equipment.
  • Screens, monitors, and equipment containing screens having a surface greater than 100 cm2.
  • Lamps.
  • Large equipment (any external dimension more than 50 cm) including, but not limited to: household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; consumer equipment; luminaires; equipment reproducing sound or images; musical equipment; electrical and electronic tools; toys, leisure and sports equipment; medical devices; monitoring and control instruments; automatic dispensers; equipment for the generation of electric currents. This category does not include equipment included in categories 1 to 3.   
  • Small equipment (no external dimension more than 50 cm) including, but not limited to: household appliances; consumer equipment; luminaires; equipment reproducing sound or images; musical equipment; electrical and electronic tools; toys, leisure and sports equipment; medical devices; monitoring and control instruments; automatic dispensers; equipment for the generation of electric currents. This category does not include equipment included in categories 1 to 3 and 6.   
  • Small IT and telecommunication equipment (no external dimension more than 50 cm).

Exclusion of certain categories of equipment

The Directive does not apply to the EEE listed in Article 2, paragraphs 3 and 4, namely:   

  • equipment which is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of Member States;
  • equipment which is specifically designed and installed as part of another type of equipment that is excluded from or does not fall within the scope of this Directive, which can fulfill its function only if it is part of that equipment;
  •  filament bulbs;
  • equipment designed to be sent into space;
  • large-scale stationary industrial tools;
  • large-scale fixed installations, except any equipment which is not specifically designed and installed as part of those installations;
  • means of transport for persons or goods, excluding electric two-wheel vehicles which are not type-approved;
  • non-road mobile machinery made available exclusively for professional use;
  • equipment specifically designed solely for the purposes of research and development and only made available on a business-to-business basis;
  • medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices, where such devices are expected to become infectious prior to the end of their life, and active implantable medical devices.

Exceptions, obligations of producers, declaration of conformity, CE sign / symbol

The documents provided with this article explain which obloigations producers have according to the directive and provide a template for a declaration of conformity and the CE sign.

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