Used disposable vapes

Posted 1 year ago

What to do with them

Please put used vapes in your battery bins located in your hall reception areas. Read on to find out more.

We all know cigarettes are bad for our planet, with cigarette butts being the most common form of littering. Cigarette butts are made of plastic and the filters are made up of harmful chemicals such as arsenic, lead and nicotine which leak into marine environments. According to research, just one cigarette butt per litre of water is highly toxic to fish! But we aren't here to talk about cigarettes (but if you do smoke, please bin your butt!).

We're here to talk about used disposable vapes, the new environmental threat, maybe even worse than cigarette butts. Vapes look like plastic and people may think, or want to think, that they are recyclable in the mixed recycling or maybe that they can be thrown away in general waste. However, this isn't the case. They are a mixed material and contain a lithium battery. This means they are classed as WEEE waste when they are ready to be thrown away. WEEE stands for waste electrical and electronic equipment.

Because of the battery, the disposal of vapes in last resort/general waste bins or mixed recycling bins can cause fire and health and safety risks at landfill sites. Not to mention throwing away a battery rather than recycling it is a waste of precious resources. Lithium is a critical material which is in high demand. The scale of waste from disposable vapes means about 10 tonnes of lithium is ending up in landfills! Saving and recycling this resource could limit the need for mining which has a catastrophic impact on the environment.

Did you know?

  • 14 million single use vapes are bought each month
  • Over 50% of single use vapes get thrown away
  • 1.3 million single use vapes get thrown away every week or 5.4 million per month

We aren't asking you to remove the battery, we are just asking you to ensure you aren't throwing vapes in the wrong waste stream (thereby wasting resources and creating hazards further along the waste process). Please put used vapes into your battery bins in your hall reception area!

As with all things, e.g., coffee cups, cutlery, plastic bags, we ask you to consider reusables rather than disposibles. Oh, and always recycle batteries!

As a final comment, prevention and minimisation of waste are the best options on the waste hierarchy. Therefore, if you would like to quit vaping to reduce your impact we have provided some resources below.