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J&B Recycling Knowledge

Vapes waste

Why are vapes bad for the environment?

As a Material Recovery Facility (MRF), we are responsible for sorting and processing various types of recyclable waste materials to minimise environmental impacts and promote sustainability.

One type of product that has been gaining popularity in recent years is e-cigarette or vape devices. While these devices may offer some health benefits over traditional cigarettes, they still contain nicotine and have a significant negative impact on the environment. 

Here are some reasons why vapes are bad for the environment and why it is important to properly dispose of them correctly.

E-waste Generation

E-cigarette devices contain a variety of electronic components, including batteries, cartridges, and coils. When these devices are disposed of improperly, they can generate e-waste, which is a major environmental concern. E-waste can contain a variety of hazardous chemicals and metals, including lead, cadmium, and mercury, which can be harmful to both human health and the environment.

Battery Disposal

E-cigarette batteries are typically lithium-ion, which is a type of rechargeable battery commonly used in electronic devices. These batteries pose a significant fire risk if they are not disposed of properly - particularly to everyone involved in the waste management process! In the case of e-cigarettes, the batteries are often difficult to remove, and in many cases they can not be removed safely by the user. This makes them particularly difficult for people involved in the waste industry to deal with.

Plastic Waste

Many e-cigarette cartridges and pods are made of plastic, which is not biodegradable and can take hundreds of years to break down in the environment. If these cartridges and pods are not recycled, they can contribute to the growing plastic pollution problem. The plastic waste generated by e-cigarettes is not only an environmental concern but also a public health issue. When plastic waste is improperly disposed of, it can harm wildlife and pollute our waterways.

Air Pollution

While e-cigarettes are often marketed as a cleaner alternative to traditional cigarettes, they still release chemicals into the air when they are used. These chemicals can contribute to air pollution, which can have negative impacts on human health and the environment. Some studies have shown that e-cigarettes can emit higher levels of certain pollutants than traditional cigarettes, which can have a greater impact on air quality.

Chemical Exposure

E-cigarettes contain a variety of chemicals, including nicotine, flavourings and other additives. When these chemicals are released, they can have negative impacts on both human health when inhaled, and the environment. Nicotine, in particular, is a toxic chemical that can harm wildlife if it is ingested. Additionally, the flavourings used in e-cigarettes can contain harmful chemicals such as diacetyl, which is known to cause respiratory problems.

How should you dispose of vapes properly?

There are a few vape collection points appearing in the community, but at present these are few and far between. So if you can’t find a dedicated vape disposal point, here are some steps you can take to dispose of vapes properly:

Do not put them in your recycling bin or general waste bin at home: They are a significant fire risk for all of the people involved in the waste collection and processing process.

Check for recycling options: Check with your local Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC), otherwise known as the local tip, to see if they accept e-cigarette batteries and cartridges. There may be specialist recycling schemes that have special drop-off locations or specific guidelines for recycling these materials. You can also check with your local hazardous waste facility to see if they have a separate e-waste disposal program.

Remove the battery (if possible): If the battery is easily removable, remove it before disposing of the vape. This will help prevent any potential fire hazards and make it easier to recycle the battery. The battery should be recycled separately at a battery recycling point. Always follow the manufacturers guidance.

Consider using refillable devices: Consider using refillable vape devices instead of disposable ones. This can help reduce the amount of waste generated by these devices and save you money in the long run.

Educate others: Spread the word about proper e-cigarette disposal to your friends, family, and community. Encourage them to recycle their e-cigarette batteries and cartridges and dispose of them responsibly.

By following these steps, you can help minimise the negative environmental impacts of e-cigarettes and promote sustainability. Remember, properly disposing of e-cigarettes is not only good for the environment but also helps keep our communities safe.

J&B Recycling provide waste management solutions for local authorities and businesses across the North of England. Our main Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) is based in Hartlepool and we have a second site in Middlesbrough, making us ideally placed for collections across Teesside (Hartlepool, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Darlington). We also have a site in Washington and we operate established collection routes throughout Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland, North Tyneside and Northumberland. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if we can help with your waste collection.

Related Content

- Guide to disposing of Electrical Waste (WEEE)
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Recycling & Disposal
Ignorance is not bliss if you don’t comply with WEEE regulations
- J&B warns against throwing your old electricals in the recycling
Can vapes be recycled?
- Thousands of disposable vapes recovered from kerbside recycling waste streams

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