How to Properly Dispose and Recycle Disposable Vapes
In recent times, disposable vapes have gained more popularity than cigarettes, and many prefer the nicotine alternative for health reasons. However, the revolution came with a downside – littering! These vapes are everywhere, causing environmental pollution.
The Upside and Downside
Since their advent, vapes have gained many fans and users. Health experts consider these electronic devices a safer alternative to cigarettes and other Tobacco derivatives. For one, they are devoid of tar and carbon monoxide, two toxic by-products of tobacco smoke. Hence, vapes significantly impact human health, helping smokers quit smoking and minimizing the detrimental effects of tobacco smoke.
But while disposable vapes have positively impacted human health, they’ve been detrimental to the ecosystem. The world is battling climatic disasters stemming from a deteriorating ecosystem, and human habits and practices are largely to blame for environmental degeneration. One such issue is the inappropriate disposal of disposable vapes.
The Negative Impact on the Environment
Our streets and immediate surroundings are Often dotted with all kinds of waste, from cigarette buds to plastic containers and bubble gums. It will appear that disposable vapes and nicotine-filled plastic pods have joined the league. According to research by Opinium for Material Focus (a non-profit recycling organization), about 1 million single-use vapes litter the environment every week. The statistics are quite alarming but not surprising. Another report by Sky News stated that disposable vape users in the UK throw away about two disposable vapes (containing lithium)every second without being recycled.
One would think that these wastes remain confined to our immediate environment, but the truth is they make their way to landfills. As a result, they generate toxic substances such as heavy metals and battery acid into the atmosphere, which are harmful to plants and animals. There have been combustion-related incidents at material recovery facilities and in refuse vehicles — no thanks to these devices. There is an alarming concentration of chemical substances and components littering the ecosystem, with lithium metal at the top of the equation.
Lithium Supplies Expected to Quadruple in Coming Years
Currently (2022), research has shown that the world will consume about half a million metric tons of lithium. And by 2035, the lithium demand will increase to about 3.7 million tons! This means the human population is expected to use lithium millions a year. And to think that a large percentage of this mineral isn’t being recycled. Colour us alarmed!
On top of that, the manufacturing processes that generate the metal are not healthy for the environment. For starters, mining the metal takes a truckload of resources. In fact, it takes about 500,000 gallons of water to mine a ton of lithium. This in itself contributes to adverse environmental impacts such as severe daytime temperatures, increasing drought conditions, and declining vegetation. That being said, lithium recycling and not mining should be our utmost concern.
Fortunately, recycling lithium isn’t a far-fetched idea or an impossible undertaking. About 80% of lithium contained in end-of-life batteries can be recycled. But do we recycle? You guessed right! Records show that the world currently recycles a teeny-weeny bit of the metal and will only increase by 6% of the primary supply come 2030. We should be concerned!
How to Dispose of Disposable Vapes
Most disposable vapes have an instruction that warns against throwing disposable vapes in a rubbish bin. If you look at the package carefully, you will see a crossed-out wheelie bin that relays the above information.
Disposing of disposables in a rubbish bin affects the environment (as discussed earlier). They threaten plants’ and animals’ survival and may cause fires. Fires from disposables result in damages worth millions of pounds every year. Thus, it would help to dispose of your disposable vape using the correct electrical recycling methods.
How do Electrical Recycling Methods Work?
To counteract improper disposable disposal, some local UK authorities provide kerbside collections. Households get electrical recycling bags or bins, and a dedicated recycling service collects them like your everyday trash bin.
This method allows users of disposable vapes and other electrical disposables to dispose of these products properly. The spent E-vapes are sent for recycling by the waste collectors. However, this service isn’t widespread as some towns and cities do not get electrical recycling bins or bags. But rest assured, this is being addressed.
Notwithstanding, Household Waste Recycling Centres in the UK have bins for electrical and battery disposal. Find one closest to you and dump your e-vapes with them. Alternatively, you can dispose of your stuff in battery bins, often seen in shops and supermarkets. Some car parks and roadside locations also have electrical recycling bins.
No matter your electrical bin disposal method, you can bet that your e-vapes will be sent to a recycling centre. The same can’t be said for rubbish bins and the like. At a recycling centre, experts remove the built-in batteries from the casings, and the remaining device is broken down by hand and machine.
The fragments from the product are sorted and categorized into different components, such as metals and plastics. They are then cleaned, and valuable materials are sent to specialists for further processing. There, reusable materials are processed into something new and useful!
When should you Dispose of Your Disposable Vapes?
Disposable vapes, as the name suggests, are designed for short-time use. Once the battery runs out of charge or the e-liquid is exhausted, it is time to dispose and get a new one. Most disposable vapes offer the same number of puffs as a packet of cigarettes. We recommend using refillable vape kits as a safer alternative for smoking and the environment. Refillable (s) are cheaper to maintain and are safer for the earth’s health. But regardless of the vaping device you use, do not throw them out carelessly.
Disposing of disposable vapes without care causes significant risks to the ecosystem. Do not throw your disposable vapes into a general waste bin to avoid polluting the environment or causing fires. When you dispose of it properly (into an electrical recycling bin), you will improve the world!
If you need any more help or advice on this subject, do not hesitate to contact us.