On September 28, 2021, South Korea Ministry of Environment announced the proposed revision of the Guidelines for Improvement of Materials and Structure of Electrical and Electronic Equipment, explaining that it plans to provide incentives to manufacturers or products based on the guidelines of the Korea Electronics Association (KEA) when the evaluation results of material and structural improvement of electrical and electronic equipment are “excellent.” As of October 17, 2021, the KEA has not announced its guidelines, but it plans to relax the evaluation cycle or provide administrative support, to manufacturers/importers and products with excellent evaluation results. In addition, the proposed revision changes the deadline for submitting the evaluation report to the KEA from the end of January to the end of July of the following fiscal year.
Currently in South Korea, manufacturers/importers of electrical and electronic products subject to the Act on Resource Circulation of Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Vehicles have to follow the guidelines for improvement of materials and structure to ensure that electrical and electronic equipment is easily recycled. When designing a product, manufacturers must select a representative model for each type of product and conduct an evaluation based on the criteria specified in the guidelines. When importing a product, the importer has to confirm whether the manufacturer has conducted the evaluation, and the importer itself shall also conduct the evaluation. Manufacturers/importers are required to maintain the report after conducting the evaluation and are to submit it to the KEA by the end of January of the following fiscal year. A penalty of 3 million won will be imposed on anyone who violates the obligation to prepare and save the evaluation report.
In the guidelines, the evaluation criteria are specified as follows.
|Evaluation items||Contents to be evaluated||Evaluation Criteria|
|Improvement of materials||Simplification of materials||The degree to which the number of materials that make up plastic is simplified for ease of recycling|
|Expansion of use of recyclable plastics||Degree of expansion in use of recyclable plastics and decrease in use of PVC in components|
|Indication of material symbols||Status of indication of material symbols for plastic components|
|Use of recycled materials||Degree of use of recycled materials|
|Improvement of structure||Ease of separation||Ease of separation with consideration for recycling|
|Ease of disassembly||Degree of structural improvement with consideration for ease of disassembly|
|Degree of improvement of structure to use single material||The degree to which a structure composed of two or more materials is improved to a single material|
|Reduction of product weight||Degree of reduction in raw materials used|
|Miniaturization of products||The extent to which product volume is reduced|
|Reduction of packaging material||Degree of reduction in packaging material|
|Other||Recording and saving of pre-evaluations||Status of recording and storing pre-evaluations|
|Provision of recycling information||Status of provision of recycling information|
|Improvements in response to recommendations||Status of improvements in response to recommendations|
|Development of technologies to promote recycling||Status of technological development to promote recycling|
|Production of products with consideration for environmental burden||Production status of products with consideration for environmental burden in all stages of manufacturing|
The outline of the proposed amendment is to provide incentives based on the guidelines of KEA when the evaluation results of material and structural improvement of electrical and electronic products are “excellent”. For manufacturers/importers and products with excellent evaluation results, the evaluation cycle will be relaxed, or administrative support will be provided. The proposed amendment also changes the deadline for submitting the evaluation report to the KEA from the end of January to the end of July of the following fiscal year.
This announcement is available at the following URL (in Korean).