Are disposable vapes the new ‘chewing gum’ of today’s society?

Are disposable vapes the new ‘chewing gum’ of
today’s society?

As the popularity of vaping continues to grow, so does the environmental impact of disposable vapes. These convenient and affordable devices are becoming ubiquitous on our streets, often discarded carelessly and causing problems for recycling facilities.

The problem lies with unclear disposal rules, and many consumers are unaware of the proper way to dispose of these devices. While they can be recycled at household recycling centers or returned to the shop where they were purchased, more than half of the vapes are thrown directly into the bin. This lack of knowledge is part of the reason why disposable vapes are becoming an environmental nightmare and are thrown in the streets.

The issue is not straightforward. The vapes contain valuable materials such as lithium batteries, copper, and plastic. This means they are classified as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and should be disposed of as batteries, not general waste. If damaged when thrown away, lithium batteries can cause fires at waste disposal plants and need to be disposed of carefully. This is why it is crucial that consumers are made aware of the proper disposal methods for disposable vapes.

As the environmental impact of disposable vapes continues to be a growing concern, it is important to take responsibility for the proper disposal of these devices. By treating them as we would with batteries and taking them to the appropriate recycling centers, we can help minimize their impact on the environment and prevent fires in waste disposal plants.  

What are disposable vapes?

  • Disposable vapes are electronic devices used for vaping that are designed to be used and then thrown away after a certain number of “puffs” or uses.
  • They are usually small and lightweight, and come pre-filled with e-liquid or vape juice, which is heated and vaporized when the device is activated.
  • Disposable vapes are often marketed as a convenient and easy-to-use alternative to traditional vaping devices, as they require no charging or refilling.

Causing fires

CSH Environmental in Colchester experienced an incident involving disposable vapes which led to a fire in one of their collecting vehicles. The fire caused damage to the hydraulics resulting in both sides of the truck needing to be cut out. The repair cost for the truck amounted to £63,000, not including the additional cost of hiring a second truck and lost of earnings while the repairs were carried out. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries this time.

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