Indium Blog

The Reason for RoHS: Safe and Plentiful Recycling


In a world drowning in electronic waste, where less than 10% of electronics are recycled, RoHS is more about recycling, than protecting the environment from the six RoHS banned materials. The long term goal of WEEE and RoHS is that more and more of electronic waste will be recycled. However, recycling electronics with lead , mercury, cadmium, etc . is not easily safe. This recycling need is the reason RoHS was established, to make recycling safe enough so that recycling can easily become a EU wide and then world wide industry.

The hope of WEEE is that there will eventually be little e waste that goes into the environment, it will almost all be recycled. The high value of tin and silver will also encourage this recycling and minimize the need to mine more tin and silver.

Certainly there are and will be legitimate concerns with RoHS compliant assembly, especially in the arena of long term reliability, and work needs to continue to address these concerns. However, it has been 15 months since the enactment of RoHS and about $500 billion worth of RoHS compliant product has been manufactured world-wide. The many companies report that the reliability of the products produced has been equal or better than that produced with tin-lead solder. Some of these companies have had near RoHS compliant products (i.e lead-free products) in the field since 2001…....six years.

So even with the continued call for Roll Backs, I expect RoHS is here to stay. As far as I know, none of the roll back proponents has been able to get a bill launched in the EU Parliament(see photo)in Brussels to initiate the roll back process!

Dr. Ron