When RoHS recast (RoHS 2) was entered into force, exempted uses of the restricted substances were given expiration dates. These exemptions would all expire on July 21, 2016, unless an exemption renewal application was filed “no later than 18 months before the expiry date.”
The Directive further states that “[t]he Commission shall decide on an application for renewal of an exemption no later than 6 months before the expiry date of the existing exemption unless specific circumstances justify other deadlines.” So where are the decisions on these renewal applications? And more importantly, what is the new timeline?
Per Article 5, Paragraph 5 of the RoHS Directive (2011/65/EU), “[t]he existing exemption shall remain valid until a decision on the renewal application is taken by the Commission.” Therefore, as any decision is now made regarding the renewal applications, a 6 month lead time is granted. For example, a decision made on March 1, 2016 would result in expiration on September 1, 2016.
Due to many renewal applications received, the European Commission now indicates an 18 to 24 month timeline for a decision on the renewal application. It is expected that renewals will be reviewed and decided upon in the order they were received. The first renewal applications were submitted in October 2014 (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/rohs13_en.htm). By the new timeline, a decision should be made between April and October of 2016.
The new timeline further suggests that renewal application decisions may roll out, which will result in several expiration dates (assuming non-renewal of some exemptions). Careful tracking of decisions, as they are published, will be necessary for proper product planning with design for compliance to RoHS.
Based upon this new information, only exemption 7b is set to expire on July 21, 2016, as no renewal application was submitted. Careful monitoring of decisions will be necessary to ensure compliance and to plan the requisite product management actions to maintain compliance. Decisions will roll out this year starting as early as April.