Summary of Legislation

Waste electrical and electronic equipment WEEE

European Union

Summary; Extended producer responsibility to the end of life of electrical and electronic equipment according to European Union Summary Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment
 of this Directive applies to the following categories of electrical and electronic equipment (ie consumer electronics, lighting, IT, medical devices, toys)

  1. Product design
 should in corporate design for disassembly and re-use and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment.
  2. Separate collection. 
Consumers can return waste free of charge; Distributors of new products ensure that waste of the same type of equipment can be returned to them free of charge on a one-to-one basis; # producers are allowed to set up and operate individual or collective take-back systems; Producers must make provision for the collection of waste that is not from private households. Member States must ensure that all waste electrical and electronic equipment is transported to authorized treatment facilities.
  3. Treatment. 
Producers of electrical and electronic equipment must apply the best available treatment, recovery and recycling techniques. Treatment outside the Community only count for the fulfillment of the targets of the Directive if the exporter can prove that treatment operations took place under conditions that are equivalent to the requirements of this Directive.
  4. Recovery
. Producers must set up systems for the recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment collected separately.
  5. Financing
. By 13 August 2005, producers must provide for the financing of the collection, at least from the collection point, of the treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment. When a producer places a product on the market, he must furnish a guarantee concerning the financing of the management of his waste.
    Details on european union website


similar to EU divided over HARL, LPEUR and Green Purchasing Law
Since 2000, various laws relating to waste management and recycling have been enacted or amended. These policy revisions can be categorized into four groups:

  1. Basic framework laws
  2. Laws for proper waste management and recycling, including the Law for the Promotion and Effective Utilization of Resources (LPEUR) which promotes 3R
  3. Laws for promoting specific waste recycling , such as the Home Appliances Recycling Law (HARL)
  4. The Green Purchasing Law which promotes greater utilization of recycled materials and requires government bodies to take a lead in procuring environmentally friendly products and materials


Different per state there is no federal legislation in effect at this time. Information on the EPA website


legislation will go in effect per January 1st, 2011. Although not as strict as the European legislation it is similar in spirit. Producers are encouraged to design for re-use and recycling, a licensing of recovery of processing recycling will be put in place. The nation will install a fund to pay for the cost. There will be a ban on importing e-waste. For more information see the China ROH website and the WEEE-decreed in english

Hazardous substance legislation

European Union

Directive on the use of certain hazardous substances,
From 1 July 2006, lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in electrical and electronic equipment must be replaced by other substances. However, as it is not always possible to completely abandon these substances, the Commission provides for a tolerance level of 0.1% for lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and a tolerance level of 0.01% for cadmium. In addition, certain uses specified in the Annex to the Directive are tolerated.
Regulatory framework for the management of chemicals (REACH)
It will be compulsory to register in a central database chemicals which are manufactured or imported in quantities of one tonne or more per annum. The database will be managed by the European Chemicals Agency. If a substance is not registered it cannot be produced or placed on the European market. In effect from 1 June 2008, but there will be transitional arrangements until 1 June 2018. Some groups of substances (listed in the Regulation) are, however, exempt from the obligation to register, for instance: polymers; some substances for which the estimated risk is negligible (water, glucose, etc.); naturally occurring and chemically unaltered substances; substances used in research and development, under certain conditions.


Order No. 39: Final Measures for the Administration of the Pollution Control and Electronic Information Products(often referred to as China RoHS18) has the stated intent to establish similar restrictions, but in fact takes a very different approach. Unlike EU RoHS, where products in specified categories are included unless specifically excluded, there will be a list of included products, known as the catalogue — see Article 18 of the regulation — which will be a subset of the total scope of Electronic Information Products, or EIPs, to which the regulations apply. Initially, products that fall under the covered scope must provide markings and disclosure as to the presence of certain substances, while the substances themselves are not (yet) prohibited. There are some products that are EIPs, which are not in scope for EU RoHS, e.g. radar systems, semiconductor-manufacturing equipment, photomasks, etc. The list of EIPs is available in Chinese and English


does not have any direct legislation dealing with the RoHS substances, but its recycling laws have spurred Japanese manufacturers to move to a lead-free process in accordance with RoHS guidelines. A ministerial ordinance Japanese industrial standard for Marking Of Specific Chemical Substances effective from July 1, 2006, directs that some electronic products exceeding a specified amount of the nominated toxic substances must carry a warning label.