UK IT charity Computer Aid International has expressed disappointment at the lack of emphasis on reuse of technology in a updated version of the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive.
The European Parliament voted on changes to the WEEE Directive last week, most of which the charity welcomed.
However, it said that by not including a reuse target, a significant opportunity was missed. The charity believes that reusing technology not only has environmental benefits, but also has social benefits in giving developing communities access to affordable electronic equipment.
"We are extremely disappointed that no reuse target has been included," said Anja ffrench, director of communications at Computer Aid.
"The suggested five percent reuse target put forward by the European Parliament last year was, in our opinion, already far too low.
"Including a reuse target would have ensured that reuse really occurs and would help to raise awareness of the need to consider reuse before opting for the less environmentally-friendly option of recycling."
Nonetheless, the changes to the directive that Computer Aid supported included the setting of e-waste collection targets.
All European countries need to collect 4kg per person per year in e-waste, and in 2016 the target will be to collect 45 tonnes of e-waste for every 100 tonnes of electronic goods put on the market over the previous years. This target will grow to 65 tonnes in 2019, or member states can choose to collect 85 percent of the total e-waste generated.
Large stores (more than 400 sq metres in floor space) selling electronic items will also be obliged to take back small items, regardless of where the customer purchased them.
In addition, the directive promises to tighten controls on e-waste exports, and will require exporters to demonstrate that their goods are being shipped for repair or legitimate reuse.
"Of course Computer Aid wholeheartedly welcomes the additions to the directive, having higher recycling collection targets and tighter border controls on e-waste exports will help to reduce the amount of electronic equipment either being sent to landfill or being illegally exported to developing countries," ffrench added.