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Fact Sheets and Case Studies:

European Union Electrical and Electronic Products Directives
This fact sheet provides an overview of the European Union’s Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE Directive) and the Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS Directive).

WEEE and RoHS Directives: Highlights and Analysis
This fact sheet examines some of the key components and outstanding issues of the WEEE and RoHS Directives, including implementation dates, the distinction between individual and collective responsibility, and potential global impacts.

Impact of the RoHS Directive on Electronic Products Sold in the US
This fact sheet addresses the impact of the European Union’s RoHS directive on the design of consumer electronic products sold in the US, especially TVs and computers.

The Basel Convention and its Mobile Phone Partnership Initiative (MPPI)
This fact sheet describes a partnership between the Basel Convention secretariat and the world’s leading cell phone manufacturers that aims to create innovative approaches to the end-of-life management of cell phones.

Electric Appliance Recycling in Japan
This fact sheet describes the requirements, implementation, and financing of the Japanese law requiring manufacturers to collect and recycle their own appliances.

PC Recycling in Japan
This fact sheet describes the requirements, implementation, and financing of the Japanese law requiring manufacturers to collect and recycle the personal computers they produce.

What Are Rechargeable Batteries? (1998)
This fact sheet provides a basic explanation of rechargeable batteries, their uses, environmental impacts, and disposal.

For information about rechargeable battery recycling, contact the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation:

rbrclogoCase Study: Industry Program to Collect Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd) Batteries (1997)
This report looks at one example of extended producer responsibility in the US– the national program launched by the manufacturers of nickel-cadmium batteries and the products that contain them to collect and recycle these batteries, at industry expense.

To: Organizations Concerned about Electronic Waste Issues and Exploring Extended Producer Responsibility Policies as a Possible Solution: we offer INFORM’s research as a resource…

From: Bette Fishbein, Sr. Fellow, INFORM

INFORM, a national non-profit environmental organization that analyzes environmentally innovative corporate practices, has, since l994, developed significant expertise in the area of “extended producer responsibility,” and this year, thanks to the support of The Overbrook Foundation, we are able to provide you with our EPR reports as well as new fact sheets on EPR-related issues as a resource in your efforts to promote electronic waste-related EPR programs in the US. We will be glad to serve as a resource in discussion of policies that you are considering as may be useful.

Brief Background on INFORM’s EPR Work: INFORM analyzed the world’s first EPR policy, which was put in place in Germany in 1991 and applied to packaging, having been struck by the elegant concept that by simply making the manufacturers of products physically or fiscally responsible for these items when they became waste, manufacturers would be strongly motivated to redesign these products to make them more readily refurbish-able and recyclable and to reduce their toxic content.

INFORM’s EPR Publications: Since INFORM’s first report, Germany, Garbage and the Green Dot (1994), our publications have included: Extended Producer Responsibility: A Materials Policy for the 21st Century (2000), Leasing: A Step Toward Producer Responsibility (2000), and Waste in the Wireless World: The Challenge of Cell Phones (2002). A new report on cell phone collection, reuse and recycling programs will be released in late summer 2003.

In l996, INFORM prepared the proposal that the US adopt the EPR strategy that appeared in the Clinton Administration’s report, A Sustainable America, and served as an advisor to the OECD countries on the framework that they developed for EPR programs, should they be adopted by any of these 27 industrialized countries. Most recently, we have served as one of the non-governmental organization participants in the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI), created by US EPA to address the issue of end-of-life electronics product management. INFORM staff members have also been advising a number of state purchasing offices on “green computers” and on EPR language that could be inserted in state and local government agency purchasing contracts favoring manufacturers guaranteeing take-back of their products at end-of-life.

FACT SHEETS: Below are two fact sheets that we hope will be useful in your EPR-related work.

  • European Union (EU) Electrical and Electronic Products Directives provides an overview of the European Union’s Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE Directive) and the Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS Directive).
  • The WEEE and RoHS Directives: Highlights and Analysis examines some key components and outstanding issues of the WEEE and RoHS Directives, including implementation dates, the distinction between individual and collective responsibility, and potential global impacts.

These fact sheets may be linked to by your organization’s website. Please feel free to distribute them to individuals/organizations who will find them useful.

Upcoming fact sheets will focus on:

  • Japan’s planned expansion of its product stewardship program from appliances, televisions, refrigerators, and air conditioners to computers.
  • The Basel Convention and its new Initiative for a Sustainable Partnership on Environmentally Sound Management of End-of-Life Mobile Phones.
  • The impact of guidelines and policies developed abroad that restrict use of toxic materials or mandate EPR on the design of products sold by multi-national corporations into the US market.
  • The waste and toxics challenges posed by the soaring use of cell phones worldwide and analysis of key cell phone collection and reuse programs in the US.
  • The application of EPR principles to government procurement programs.
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