The European Union WEEE and RoHS directives : How are Atlas Copco and CP’s handheld industrial tools and assembly systems affected by the WEEE and RoHS directives?
The European Union Member States has a common environmental policy. The intention of the environmental policy and the WEEE and RoHS directives are to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment, protect human health and make use of natural resources. The WEEE is abbreviation for “Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment”. The WEEE directive purpose is to improve the reuse, recycling and recovery in order to reduce the amount of disposal of equipment and the contents going to landfill. The RoHS directive is abbreviation for “Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment”. The six restricted substances are lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium and two brominated flame-retardants; PPB and PBDE. The purpose of the RoHS directive is to approximate the laws of the European Member States on the restrictions of the use of hazardous substances in EEE, “Electrical and Electronic Equipment”. The common legislation is needed because the companies shall have the same terms of concerns.
The amount of EEE that the European Member States generate is growing rapidly and that is why a common waste management is needed. The content of hazardous components in EEE is a major concern during the waste management phase and recycling of WEEE. The landfills do not have the possibility to handle the upcoming volumes of waste and the rubbish incineration creates high levels of heavy-alloy metal in our surroundings. The WEEE and RoHS directives covers ten categories of EEE and the producer responsibility shall encourage the design and production of EEE, which take into full account and facilitate their repair, possible upgrading, disassembly, reuse and recycling.
The Commission has not drawn up distinct guidelines and boundaries for the EEE within some of the categories in the WEEE and RoHS directives. This makes it difficult for the producers of EEE to determine if their products are within the scope of the directives. The definition of “large-scale stationary industrial tools” is one of the most difficult definitions to interpret. This definition includes four points that the EEE shall comply with to be allowed as an exemption.
Atlas Copco and CP are two of the concerned companies that have products within the scope of the WEEE and RoHS directives. In the Atlas Copco group there are two divisions; Atlas Copco and CP. Atlas Copco and CP develop, manufacture and market industrial tools, compressed air equipment, construction and mining equipment and assembly systems. It is Atlas Copco and CP’s industrial tools and assembly systems, which are affected by the WEEE and RoHS directives. Due to this Atlas Copco and CP needs to decide which of their products that is within the scope of the directives. Some of their industrial tools and assembly systems are in the grey-area of the legislation. The purpose of this thesis is to interpret the WEEE and RoHS directives and review Atlas Copco and CP’s industrial tools and assembly systems. The author believes that the majority of Atlas Copco and CP’s industrial tools and assembly systems are not “large-scale stationary industrial tools” because they sells as single units which the customers combine as they wish, to get the accurate performance. The tools are furthermore handhold and driven by electricity through a cable or battery and the industrial tools and assembly systems are not permanently fixed. The author’s decision which industrial tools and assembly systems are within the scope of the directives differentiates from Atlas Copco and CP’s decision.
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