Indium Blog

Dr. Ron Interviews WEEE/RoHS Expert NeoVention's Kathy Hickey

  • Indium Corporation
  • RoHS

  • Note from Dr. Ron: Kathy Hickey is a former graduate student of mine (Smith and Dartmouth graduate) who is a principal in NeoVention, a start up company focusing on bringing medical device prototypes to market. Kathy has also become a WEEE/RoHS expert. The following is an interview that I had with her recently.

    Dr. Ron: Kathy, you have now given many workshops and webinars and answered many questions from people on WEEE/RoHS. What is your biggest surprise to date?

    Kathy Hickey: Definitely, that most people think that WEEE/RoHS means "Lead-Free," they forget about mercury, hexavalent chromium, cadmium and brominated flame retardants. The most dangerous mistake that this can lead to is in exemptions. Being exempt for lead, say for servers and storage devices, does not mean your product is exempt for the other materials. So you still have much to do to get ready for RoHS, even if you are exempt for lead.

    DR: What about other surprises?

    KH: Well, of course, there is always the fact that many people seem lethargic in responding to this major disruption to their business. As the famous Dr. Ron Lasky (laughs) has pointed out, a significant minority of companies may go out of business for not responding fast enough to WEEE/RoHS.
    From my own perspective, I think that a big surprise is that it will likely be harder for companies to respond to WEEE than RoHS. Once you have done the technical work for RoHS and made a self declaration, you are, for the most part, finished for all of the EU for RoHS. With WEEE, your company has to register separately in all 25 EU countries. You must have a take back and recycle plan, etc. Yikes! This complex process is far from trivial.

    DR: Tell us about one of your recent WEEE/RoHS accomplishments.

    KH: One of my clients was concerned that companies may have to perform recycle material reclamation in each of the 25 EU countries that the EEE is sold in. I showed him that it is possible to recycle all material in one location if desired. However, adequate tracking of the material is crucial.

    DR: Tell us about some of your other activities.

    KH: I have always been interested in sports. At Smith I was in crew and played squash. The photo to the right shows me at NCAA Crew Nationals in 2002. Currently, I coach and play soccer and have taken up archery. I also love to sail and go skydiving, when my budget permits.

    DR: Can you give us your email address?

    KH: or