RoHS III – Looks like Europe’s not happy about WEEE implementation either.

Mark Myles has a very good article in Circuitnet about WEEE implementation in Europe (and
thanks to Dr. Lasky for posting a link to that article). In brief, Mark Myles attended a conference in Poland about the WEEE implementation, found that it really is as messed up as it looks to us over here, and also found that European manufacturers are just as frustrated with the poor implementation as we are.

I would strongly suggest that anyone reading this post check out Mark Myles’ article. But here are some things that caught my eye:

  1. A lot of IMPORTANT things are still VERY undefined. Terms such as “producer” and “placed on the market” are not clearly defined. Different countries are implementing WEEE in different ways. A substantial number of countries haven’t implemented it yet at all. Even for some of those countries that have put the WEEE directive into their national legislation, things such as rules for registering & people to register with have not yet been set up. But despite all that, the August deadline still stands.
  2. Many countries will NOT be providing English translations of their rules, website, etc.
  3. Producers from outside the country are in a bit of a gray area, as some countries are requiring that companies registering for WEEE be legal entities in that country. So, if you’re not a legal entity, you may need to find a distributor or representative pretty quick.
  4. The legalities of who is responsible for what fines & liability, between a foreign producer and domestic distributor, are VERY tricky!
  5. USE THE CROSSED-OUT WHEELIE BIN SYMBOL!!!! There are some disagreements about it, but those are minor enough that it’s worth the time and effort to put that symbol on there.

I have heard a number of people make comments about WEEE & RoHS having primary purposes of environmental protection, but secondary purposes of protecting “Fortress Europe”. I was kind of skeptical of that, but the bit about foreign producers needing to find local representatives if they are selling direct to customers does give me pause. Either Europe is starting to become as litigious as we are (which isn’t a good thing), or there are factions using this legislation to artificially increase employment in European countries (not a good thing either).

However it turns out, it’s nice (in a sad & frustrating way) to find out No, it’s not just us here in the U.S., producers in Europe are finding this process maddening also.

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