Dell has outlined the steps it is taking to comply with the EU’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive ahead of the July 2006 deadline for compliance.

A Dell spokesperson said RoHS compliance is creating one of the biggest challenges facing the PC industry this year, in the form of the removal of lead from motherboards.

“The lead in the printed circuit board is the cement and glue. If you change that it affects every component on the board, and all of your testing (safety, reliability and so one) needs to be re-evaluated,” she explained.

Dell intends to ship some three million lead-free motherboards by the end of this year.

The company announced two new OptiPlex systems, both of which, it says, take steps toward compliance with the RoHS directive, by featuring lead-free power supplies, motherboards and chassis.

Dell plans to meet RoHS requirements across the board before the July 2006 deadline. Dell’s Restricted Materials Programme also prohibits other restricted materials, like cadmium, and Dell says it already complies with international environmental standards, such as GreenPC and Energy Star.

It has also upped the stakes in its drive to recover and recycle old equipment through its End of Life program. The company says it recovered nearly 30m kilograms of product during fiscal 2004, and aims to increase this by a further 50 percent during fiscal 2006.