RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)
RoHS (European Union Directive 2002/95/EC on the Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment) is a directive issued January 27, 2003 by the European Commission (EC). It directs European Union (EU) member nations to enact local legislation by August 13, 2004, which will implement the RoHS directive as regulatory requirements before the activation date of July 1, 2006.
What does this mean to you?
The directive is a legally binding document for the EU member nations. It establishes regulations at the EU level, which flow to each member nation. Essentially, each EU member government must pass its own laws, patterned after the RoHS directive, and do so by the July 1, 2006 deadline. The immediate repercussions of non-compliance include fines, product recalls, market bans and damaged brand reputations. The implications of non-compliance can be severe and potentially impact organizations at every level.

RoHS is part of a growing wave of environmental regulations or "green" initiatives. In addition to RoHS for Europe, there are similar regulations being written in China and other Asian nations. Japanese companies have created a non-governmental group to standardize green procurement requirements. In the US, individual states are passing laws restricting some substances and requiring recycling of certain classes of products. California, for instance, has mandated a January 1, 2007 date of compliance with the EU RoHS directive. A common theme seen all over the world is the so-called "take-back" feature that requires manufacturers to accept old products from consumers and reuse or recycle them.