15 Apr, 2024

RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) Compliance Testing has become a standard practice for most manufacturers, distributors, sellers, and recyclers of electrical and electronic components or equipment sold or used in the UK, EU, and around the world.

In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about RoHS, its benefits, and how you can ensure your products are legal, safe, and sustainable. Find out more below.

Introduction to RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)

RoHS, also known as Directive 2011/65/EU, is a set of international regulations that limits and restricts the use of specific hazardous materials found in electric and electronic products (EEE).

The substances restricted by RoHS include:

  • Mercury
  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Hexavalent chromium
  • Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs)
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
  • Bis (2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
  • Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)
  • Di butyl phthalate (DBP)
  • Di isobutyl phthalate (DIBP)

RoHS aims to minimise the environmental damage and health risks caused by the manufacturing, use, and disposal of electronic products. By limiting the presence of harmful substances, RoHS promotes sustainable production processes, ensures consumer goods are safe for their intended use, and reduces waste generated from electronics throughout their entire lifecycle.

Is RoHS a Legal Requirement?

RoHS compliance applies exclusively to EEE. This includes consumer electronics, appliances industrial equipment, and more. The directive is mandated for the UK, EU, EEA, UAE, China, and many other countries across the globe. In the UK, the RoHS enforcement agency is the Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).

Failing to comply with RoHS can result in a fine up to the statutory maximum on summary conviction, an unlimited fine on conviction on indictment, or imprisonment. However, the RoHS directive makes provision for several specific exemptions due to the large number of products it affects and that it may not be technically possible to manufacture some products without the use of restricted substances.

The Role of Recycling Facilities in RoHS Compliance

In recent years, there has been more focus on how plastics and electronic waste are disposed of. To reduce the amount of electrical waste that is incinerated or sent to landfill sites in the UK, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 (2013 WEEE Regulations) sets out measures for the collection and treatment of EEE products at end-of-life.

However, although recyclable, EEE products are made to last for long periods and can be problematic for recycling facilities which need to be sure of the purity of the recycled material before bringing it back to market.

RoHS complements the 2013 WEEE Regulations by enforcing RoHS compliance testing services to determine the presence of restricted substances in electronic equipment right from the concept stage. This ensures that EEE products and materials can be safely recycled at the end of their lifecycle.

The Benefits of RoHS Certification for Recycling Facilities

For manufacturers, distributors, sellers, and recycling facilities, RoHS certification plays an important role in ensuring the safety and sustainability of materials used in and recycled from EEE products, contributing a multitude of benefits for consumers, the environment, and manufacturing practices.

Contribute to a Cleaner Environment

One of the primary goals of RoHS is to reduce the environmental impact of electronic waste. By complying with RoHS, businesses and facilities will produce goods that contribute few to no levels of hazardous substances in waste and minimise ecological risks.

Attract Responsible Partnerships

Organisations that comply with RoHS regulations will build a reliable and positive reputation for their company, helping to gain greater access to responsible partnerships with like-minded businesses and encouraging a higher level of trust for consumers.

Legal Compliance

Adhering to the RoHS directive means that organisations can be sure they are complying with the law surrounding the use of toxic or restricted substances. Legal compliance also enables businesses to thrive in the highly competitive global market.

Access to Worldwide Markets

RoHS compliance ensures that manufacturers can produce goods that adhere to recognised global standards, enabling access to worldwide markets with fewer limitations and without the need to modify production processes.

Demonstrate Your Commitment to The Planet & Consumers

Finally, RoHS compliance testing serves as a vital tool in reducing the potential harm caused by prolonged human contact with hazardous substances. By complying with RoHS standards, businesses demonstrate their commitment to providing safe products that prioritise consumer well-being and environmental protection.

How to Get RoHS Certification

At ACS, we follow a three-step process to ensure that your product meets RoHS standards and has undergone stringent RoHS compliance testing:

  1. Verification via testing – first, we test samples for restricted substances through on-site testing, lab phthalate solvent extraction, or XRF testing.
  2. Separation and preparation of sample material – After testing, we separate the non-compliant substances and store them away from other components.
  3. Final assessment – After separation, we conduct a final assessment to ensure all remaining materials are compliant, and any substances that are not will then be removed and recycled.

After this process is completed, your product is considered RoHS-certified!

If you’re unsure whether your products or waste are compliant with the RoHS directive, contact us. Our detailed RoHS Compliance Testing services can help you prepare, implement, and ensure RoHS compliance across your organisation.