Eight small businesses in the electronics industry from Rochester, NY were studied in order to determine whether the European Union’s directives, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directives (RoHS) are spurring innovation in the US. Innovation was defined as any change in the design and manufacturing of the products, in the internal organizational structure and management of the business, or in the market strategies pursued by the small businesses that created a benefit beyond RoHS and WEEE compliance. Because WEEE and RoHS are based upon extended producer responsibility principles, this innovation would complement the findings of previous research completed on extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation. A case study with an in-depth interview was conducted for each of the eight companies to gather data on the changes the companies had taken in their operational, design, and management systems to comply with WEEE and RoHS. The collected data was analyzed to determine which of the changes were “spillover effects” that went beyond the requirements of WEEE and RoHS. The analysis led to the finding that the directives were in fact leading to innovations within each of the companies. While some companies had more profound innovations than others, the directives had prompted the companies to take on initiatives that led to more efficient and environmentally friendly manufacturing and design processes.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Electronic industries--United States--Technological innovations; Electronic industries--United States--Environmental aspects; Environmental policy--European Union countries; Green electronics--United States
Department, Program, or Center
Civil Engineering Technology Environmental Management and Safety (CAST)
Cabrera, Frances L., "WEEE and ROHS: are they spurring innovation among small and medium sized electronics businesses in the U.S.?" (2008). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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