Environmental compliance is a moving target -- each region can impose unique environmental requirements on products sold in their market and new regulations continue to emerge. Different global substance regulations create significant challenges for all actors in the electrical and electronics industry. Substances added twice a year to the EU REACH1 SVHC Candidate List and the potential additional RoHS2 substances are prime examples of new or changing regulatory requirements.
ENERGY STAR has created a completely new system of requirements and procedures for qualifying energy-efficient products. Navigating the new routes to qualification can be a challenge, given the multiplicity of newly defined requirements for testing, certification and verification. What are Recognized Laboratories, Certification Bodies and Accreditation Bodies? What roles do they play in the process? Can manufacturers still perform their own product testing for qualification? This article will chart the landscape and describe how to choose the fastest and most economical route through EPA’s Enhanced Testing and Verification Program.
The compliance world was shaken up in 2005 with the realization that the European Union was enacting legislation that would require manufacturers wishing to sell their electrical or electronic products in the EU to reduce the environmental impact of these products through design. The practice of eco design was to be enshrined in Law and many companies who would not normally have considered the environmental impact of their products now faced the prospect of being legally obliged to do so. Since the introduction of this legislation, in the form of the Energy using Products Directive, industry has been monitoring its phased implementation to see to what degree the requirements will affect their designs. Following a summary of the scope and major features of the legislation, this article will review the latest developments in the implementation process and give an overview of the emerging design requirements. It will go on to discuss the important areas of conformity assessment, market surveillance and enforcement and conclude by looking at possible future developments and discuss to what degree the legislation fulfils the goal of reducing environmental impacts.