Does REACH apply to the sales and use of conveyor belts?
Our society is becoming increasingly ‘green’ and environmentally-aware by separating wastes and manufacturing cars which use less fuel.
The number of regulations and laws in respect to the environment is also growing. One of the laws that Habasit works to comply with is the European REACH regulation, which came into force in June 2007.
Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals
REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of CHemicals. It was established to minimize the health and environmental risks in connection with the everyday use of chemicals in industry. The question is, how does REACH apply to the sales and use of conveyor belts?
REACH is a European regulation and obliges all EU manufacturers and EU importers of chemicals to register the substances contained in their products and raw materials at the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). All manufacturers of conveyor belts must comply with this law.
Substances of Very High Concern
Apart from this registration obligation, the REACH regulation also has a so-called SVHC (Substances of Very High Concern) list. This list contains substances whose manufacturing and use once may require authorisation. We have checked all our conveyor and power transmission belts for the substances that are on this list. This was quite a job and we had to conclude that a number of belts indeed contained the mentioned substances. These mainly were products made from PVC and rubber. Well before the deadline, alternatives were already found for these substances and our products are no longer manufactured using anything mentioned on the SVHC list. This review process continues since new substances are added to the SVHC list twice a year,
But what about the conveyor belts that have been manufactured using substances from the SVHC list which are already stored or installed in a number of our locations? According to the REACH regulation, there are no restrictions in the use of a product containing SVHC. However, when selling such a product, we are obliged to mention this on an attached document, for example the packing note. Should the conveyor belt be resold, then the retailer is in his turn obliged to mention this to his customer.
But what if a SVHC contained in a conveyor belt will be included in the Annex XIV authorisation list, i.e. requires authorisation to be manufactured or used. The restriction on manufacturing and use is valid for the SVHC only but not for articles (e.g. conveyor belts). This means REACH does not set a deadline for selling products produced before the sunset date (deadline) of the contained SVHC. By complying with the REACH regulation, we make a contribution to a cleaner and greener world. Who can be against that?