According to the study, only 17% of vapers recycle their vapes in the proper recycling containers. If not disposed of properly, vapes can cause fires in garbage lorries and waste treatment facilities.
The vaping business claims to be working hard to increase recycling rates.
Disposable vapes, which are cheap plastic devices designed to provide a few hundred puffs of nicotine vapour before being abandoned, are frequently seen in trash and along roadsides.
Material Focus, a non-profit organization that strives to enhance recycling rates, projected that UK adults buy roughly 30 million vapes every month, a significant increase that reflects the items’ quick development in popularity.
Copper wires and lithium batteries, both of which are precious commodities, are used in disposable vapes. According to Material Focus, all of the disposable vapes thrown away in a year have enough lithium to power 5000 electric cars.
To decrease the risk of fires, they should be disposed of in designated bins, shops, or recycling centers that include the mineral vermiculite. They can then be sent to specialist recycling facilities where they can be dismantled by hand.
Every retailer that sells vapes is required by law to accept them back, but this is an expensive service that many do not perform.
According to them, the annual cost of recycling all those vapes might be £200 million, which producers, importers, and retailers are not covering.
Widespread Vape Waste: Recycling Falls Short of Demand, Material Focus Director Highlights
“There are far more vapes thrown on the floor, in public bins, and in kitchen bins than are recycled,” says Material Focus Executive Director Scott Butler. Current recycling facilities are “far from adequate.” It should be as simple to recycle as it is to buy them.”
Vapes mixed with other home rubbish can start fires in bin lorries and waste facilities. Veolia, which collects around a tenth of the waste in the UK, claims that lithium batteries, including vapes, cause one fire every day at its facilities.
It is unlawful for anybody under the age of 18 to purchase a vape, and the study found that young vapers are far more prone than adults to throw their vapes away or flush them down the toilet to avoid their parents discovering they are vaping.
Elfbar, the UK’s most popular disposable vape brand, stated it is “fully committed to increasing rates of recycling” and is aiming to install thousands of recycling stations in retail outlets as well as increase the recyclability of its products.
According to John Dunne, Director General of the UK Vaping Industry Association, the industry’s expansion has been so rapid that it has been difficult to keep up with, although many small vape shops now have recycling facilities in place.
“The government is very concerned about the environmental impacts of disposable vapes,” a UK government spokesperson stated, “and will shortly publish a response to its call for evidence on vaping, which closed in June.”
The Scottish Government is considering prohibiting the use of disposable vapes. Councils in England and Wales called for a ban in July, citing the challenges they can cause in garbage disposal.
Material Focus’ research was based on a Yougov poll of 5,156 participants, 167 of whom were 16 or 17 years old.
Source: BBC News