The newest RoHS was set in motion by Korea on April 2. The compliance date is Jan. 1, 2008. And like many of the emerging RoHS-style environmental regulations, the details of compliance are not clear.
Industry experts see some similarities between Korea RoHS and China RoHS, especially when it comes to the vague nature of the legislation. “In a way it’s reminiscent of China RoHS – what was released is frustrating,” says Michael Kirschner, president of Design Chain Associates, a San Francisco firm that helps companies with environmental compliance. “Korea RoHS needs clarifications, and they will come through presidential decrees. That means the details remain to be seen.”
The Korea Ministry of Environment has indicated the restrictions will be consistent with the European Union’s (EU) RoHS, but this was not officially pronounced through the legislation. Kirschner notes that some of the most critical details have still not been released by Korea. “We don’t even know what the scope is officially,” says Kirschner. “There is no information about scope or the exemption process or even what the restricted materials are.”
One difference between China RoHS and Korea RoHS is that Korea is not requiring OEMs to label their product as compliant. “It will not have a labeling requirement, which is a slight change from previous RoHS legislation,” says Kirschner. “What they will have to do is register. You’ll have to register and say that your product will comply with the legislation.”
Korea RoHS also have a recycling provision that differs from the EU’s WEEE directive.. “The Korea restrictions are more prescriptive than the WEEE directive for recycling,” says Kirschner. “The intent is to start recycling with products in electronic and electrical such as PCs, TVs, and copy and fax machines.”
Design Chain Associate’s Korean consulting partner, EcoFrontier, has published a free English translation of Korea RoHS.