Electronic Design

Conference Sheds Light On Takeback Laws

Ecological concerns about electronic waste materials are growing in the industry. The European Union (EU), China, Canada, and other countries are all regulating electronic waste. So is California. OEMs are concerned about how these rules will be enforced and what compliance actions are now necessary.

One place to get a handle on these new packaging and e-waste "takeback" regulations is Take It Back 2005. Now in its ninth year, the "producer responsibility" conference will be held March 7-9 at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Arlington, Va. International experts will provide insights and lead panel discussions and workshops on takeback laws in Europe, Asia, and North America.

An all-day (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) workshop on the EU's Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive is scheduled for March 9. Topics will include:

  • The status of new ASTM committee agreements on testing
  • Survey results that show where board makers stand on compliance with RoHS
  • The status of exemptions and interpretations from the European Commission's Technical Adaptation Committee (TAC)
  • The legal implications of signing a RoHS compliance declaration
  • An update on RoHS rules in Asia.
  • Some of the speakers scheduled include Denis Pohl, TAC member from Belgium; Tim McGrady of IMR Test Labs, an ASTM committee member; and Richard Ferris, China counsel for Holland & Knight, an international law firm.

    The opening day's internal plenary session will feature several speakers from European and Pacific Rim countries offering updates on environmental regulations and even a look at what to expect in the future. For example, a number of Canadian provinces are making their own laws and programs, on top of those at the national level. The session will look at how one major company is coping with this patchwork of rules, especially in Ontario and Quebec.

    Another discussion will describe how new packaging agreements between Australia and New Zealand will affect design and demand. Also, speakers from Taiwan and Japan will provide insights from their respective viewpoints. Meanwhile, Kris Pollet from White & Case in Brussels, Belgium, will speculate how the EU will regulate the chemical content of products in the future.

    Day 2 of the conference will feature two tracks, one on packaging called "Old Recycling Laws--New Solutions" and one on e-waste dubbed "Dealing With a World of New Regulations." During the opening session on e-waste, speakers will discuss how it will cost the industry $40 billion to comply with RoHS and Waste Electronics and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) rules. Additionally, this panel discussion will describe the goods and services that vendors are preparing to help companies comply with these rules.

    Take It Back 2005

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