The problems of Implementation of the European Union Directives for Electrical and Electronic Equipment Hazardousness
The problems of implementation of two new EU Directives is discussed in this article. It is so called WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and RoHS (Restriction of use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment), as well as influence of these directives to quality and environmental management systems. The RoHS directive requires a number of potentially hazardous substances (lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated byphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)) to be phased out by 1 July 2006. Both directives will help reduce the environmental impact of electrical and electronic goods at the end of their life and contribute towards our sustainable development. The overall situation of legislation strenghtening, especially in globalization context, is analysed, including examples from the USA, Japan and China. There are suspects that EU directives RoHS and WEEE are just the beginning of a long period of environmental regulations. We may have entered a decades-long period where the chemical makeup of electrical and electronic components will be a big part of business success. The principles of sustainable design and integrating environmental aspects into product design are presented. The main problems of RoHS and WEEE implementation are discussed (totally 17 problems are highlighted and defined). The experience about these directives implementation in the company “Ekranas”, producing colour picture tubes, is presented. An example of integrating RoHS and WEEE systems into quality and environmental management system using the same key elements and processes are given in the table. Decision tree, which is used in the company “Ekranas” to guide decisions on compliance issues, is shown in the figure. The list of literature is presented.