Key Research Areas

Environmental Legislation: RoHS, WEEE, EcoDesign

Product-related environmental legislation is increasingly affecting electrical and electronic products. In recent years the European Commission, with its RoHS, WEEE und EuP/ErP Directives has not only placed considerable restrictions on substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium (VI), and the flame retardants PBDE and PBB and has regulated the recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment, but with the Ecodesign Directive has also initiated a broad process of life-cycle related product optimisation. The EuP/ErPDirective is meanwhile closely integrated with Energy Efficiency Labelling Directive and the EU Environmental Label.

With its broad engineering expertise in the field of electronics, Fraunhofer IZM provides advice for manufacturing companies as well as for national and international institutions (European Commission, German federal ministries, authorities and environmental agencies in other EU Member States).

We support the legislative process by proving necessary technical-economic analyses and help companies to develop suitable compliance strategies.

The research on environmental legislation focuses on the following topics:

  • Preparatory studies on the eco-design of selected product groups European Commission
  • Development of strategies for recycling-optimizedproduct design and for determining real recycling rates
  • Assessment of applications for RoHS exemptions for the European Commission
  • Substituting harmful substances in electronics
  • Global effects and trends of product-related environmental legislation 
  • Advising companies and authorities on conformity with RoHS, WEEE and EuP/ErP

Proactive environmental product optimisation outside the scope of legislation

Projects relating to Environmental Legislation


Setting ground for the European Product Passports

The "CIRPASS" project aims to lay the foundations for the future implementation of digital product passports in the EU. Tasks include creating a forum to develop a common understanding of cross-sector DPPs and building stakeholder consensus on prototypes of the DPP in the sectors: Batteries, Textiles, and Electronics.

EuP/ErP pilot studies

Pilot Studies on Implementing the European Ecodesign Directive

The coming into effect of the European Ecodesign Directive calls for comprehensive action by manufacturers and retailers, including those in the ICT, electrical engineering and electronics branches.

EuP Review

Review of EuP Preparatory Study Evidence

Consumer electronics have yet to reap the full potential of green technologies and ecodesign. The European policy framework is supposed to foster the implementation of environmentally benign product design, but largely addresses substance restrictions and energy efficiency in the use phase only.

EU Directives RoHS and ELV

Assessment of Continuing and New Applications for Exemption from the Substance Prohibition Regulations of the EU Directives RoHS and ELV (End-Of-Life Vehicle)

Exemptions permit the use of prohibited substances in certain applications for limited time periods and are only granted if certain criteria are met.


Data Hub for the Exchange of Sustainability Data

SustainHub is a data management system (DMS or data hub) for collecting and relaying sustainability data along the supply chain and between different stakeholders at the same stage in the supply or value-added chain.