HOW TO DISPOSE OF DISPOSABLE VAPES UK?
Disposable vapes are tricky to recycle but if you can remove the battery, you can recycle the battery in battery recycling facilities and the disposable vape housing separately, in the electrical recycling. This isn’t always possible, but it reduces the risk of fire in the recycling truck or at the recycling centre.
For the environmentalists among you, the best disposable vape is one that can be properly recycled!
There is a major concern over the littering of disposable vapes and how much waste they are creating here in the UK. The concerns have been raised before government, who have planned to discuss what can be done about disposable vapes and the waste material they create. In the meantime, let’s talk about how you can try to dispose of your disposable vape in the best way possible and why it’s important to do so.
2024 UPDATE - ARE DISPOSABLE VAPES BEING BANNED UK?
It was announced on the 28th January 2024 that disposable vapes are being banned in the UK. This is part of government plans to tackle the rise in youth vaping. Exactly when this disposable vape ban will come in to force is not yet known, but users of disposables will need to look elsewhere to get their nicotine - so consider SMOKO E-Cigarettes!
WHAT IS A DISPOSABLE VAPE?
E-Cigarettes, or ‘vapes’, are a harm reduction tool for smokers – a way of getting nicotine in an action similar to smoking but with most of the harms eliminated. Tobacco cigarettes contain over 50 known carcinogens, produce tar and more harmful chemicals (1) when they burn: making it a very harmful habit and a major cause of lung cancer.
On the other hand, E-Cigarettes vaporise e-liquid which is a mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, flavourings and nicotine, turning the mixture into an aerosol that is inhaled by the vaper. In the UK, where high levels of regulation is ensured by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), E-Cigarettes are considered to be at least 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, according to Public Health England (2).
Disposable vapes are cheap vaping devices that contain the e-liquid in the housing and are non-rechargeable, meaning they are thrown away when the liquid inside is finished or the battery runs out. These are mostly made in China and, as sealed units, circumvent the regulations in place in the UK. We can all agree that this is not good – and testing has revealed that many disposable vapes on the shelves here in the UK contained illegal levels of e-liquid!
IS DISPOSABLE VAPE USE ON THE RISE?
It is estimated that about 5 million disposable vapes are thrown away every week in the UK (3), with many ending up on the streets or in general waste.
Grundon, a UK waste disposal and waste management service, recycles around 80 thousand tonnes of household and municipal waste per year and has seen an increase in the number of disposable vapes being picked up by road sweeping vehicles – apparently picking up 100 to 150 on an eight-hour shift.
It is sad to say that youth vaping is on the rise, primarily because they are getting hold of disposable vapes. Questionable marketing tactics are being used by some disposable vape companies that appear to target youngsters, with unsavoury retail outlets taking a very lax approach to checking the age of customers. Just in the last couple of years, our local vicinity has seen two or three retailers closed down for selling vapes to underage teens!
This youth-vaping may be a large contributing factor to the improper disposal of single-use vapes as the underage teens try to hide their vaping from adults both at home and in school, leading them to dispose of their vapes in public bins that shouldn’t be used for electrical devices containing a lithium battery – or discarding them out on the street. A 2022 survey from Truth Initiative found that only about 8% of 15-24 year old vapers sent their disposable E-cigarettes to electronic recycling facilities (4).
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO RECYCLE YOUR DISPOSABLE VAPES UK?
Making sure our waste is properly disposed of is important for protecting the environment; vapes are classed as ‘waste electrical and electronic equipment’ or WEEE (sometimes called ‘e-waste’), so consumers should dispose of them at a household recycling centre or the shop they bought it from. This helps prevent the leeching of chemicals and plastics out into the environment, but with batteries involved it also helps reduce the risk of things like heavy metals leeching into the environment while making the waste safer to handle for waste disposal companies.
As disposable vapes contain nicotine, they are also considered hazardous waste! This reinforces the need to dispose of them in an environmentally conscious way.
It is estimated that about 1.3 million disposable vapes are thrown away every week in the UK, with many ending up on the streets or in general waste. Containing plastic, copper, rubber and a lithium battery, some parts are easy to recycle where things like the rubber are not!
Lithium is in high demand, being used for batteries for all sorts of devices, so recycling it where possible is essential: it is estimated that about 10 tonnes of lithium is lost each year. Proper disposal of these batteries is also important for safety; research by Material Focus who run the ‘Recycle Your Electricals’ campaign indicates more than 700 fires in bin lorries and at recycling centres were caused by batteries placed in general waste (5).
The waste management company Grundon, after several fires at one of their sites, has installed fire detection equipment costing £250k at each facility (6). This could lead to an increase in the cost of the waste management contracts with councils, potentially increasing your local council tax fee!
SMOKO - THE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS CHOICE FOR VAPING THAT MAKES DISPOSAL EASY!
As you can see, there is a portion of the vaping industry that could do with improving how the waste is managed, as well as improve awareness of better disposal methods for customers.
At SMOKO E-Cigarettes, we are pleased to say that we have a Recycling Program for your empty VAPE POD refills and E-Cigarette refills - making SMOKO the top choice for the best disposable vape! Collect your empties in a collection bag, provided by us for free, and then send it back to us (for free!) when it is full, and we take care of the rest!
As SMOKO devices are in two parts – your battery housing and the refill – you can recycle our batteries at your local battery recycling – either a recycling centre or your local supermarket!
HOW TO DISPOSE OF DISPOSABLE VAPES UK? - CONCLUSION
By following this vape disposal guide you can help to reduce the risk of fires that are inflicted upon the workers at recycling centres across the country, preserve lithium and reduce the amount lost each year, in addition to preventing the leeching of plastics, metals and nicotine out into the environment.
If you are looking for the best disposable vape, then look no further! SMOKO E-Cigarettes and Vapes make vape disposal easy so you can be happy in the knowledge you are doing your bit to reduce unnecessary waste, protect the waste workers here in the UK and protect the environment! Choose SMOKO for the best disposable vapes UK!
(1) Chemicals in Tobacco Products and Your Health
(2) Nicotine vaping in England: 2022 evidence update main findings
(3) Five million vapes thrown away every week - research
(4) Most young users put disposable e-cigarettes in trash, creating huge streams of toxic and hazardous waste, as companies fail to take responsibility
(5) Number of disposable single-use vapes thrown away have in a year quadrupled to 5 million per week
(6) Single-use vapes sparking surge in fires at UK waste plants
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Overgage – is a former smoker of 10 years until he became a client of SMOKO E-Cigarettes. Dan started working with SMOKO 5 years ago after successfully quitting using our e-cigarettes and works across our Customer Service and heads up our content creation and research with a strong focus on all things quitting smoking. During his tenure with SMOKO, Dan has written countless blogs and consults with countless clients every day to help them to stay smoke-free.