E-Liquid bottle rubbish problem

The End Of 10ml Bottles Could Help Reduce Plastic Waste Crisis

Anyone who says the 10ml bottle of e-liquid rule is something we should just ‘get over’ should be removed from your circle – you don’t need that sort of negativity in your life 😉

If that sounds harsh then consider this – plastic waste is choking the planet – and here in the UK things are about to get a whole lot worse.

China has just announced it will no longer be taking our plastic waste for recycling and that has rang the alarm bells in the world of UK waste management to say the least!

Add to that the EU announcing last week they were ‘going to war on plastic waste’ and our own Prime Minister Mrs May [or may not] parroting the same – then we can see a bit of an elephant in the room right there.

The elephant is of course those bloody 10ml plastic e-liquid bottles [thanks TPD] and the annoying plastic rings that seem to end up everywhere no matter how carefully you open them!

Add to that the sheer amount of plastic bits ‘n bobs in your average short-fill kits AND the amount of liquid nicotine sloshing around Europe these days and the whole TPD e-liquid ‘laws’ are more than a bit of a fiasco.

Statistics from the excellent Freedom To Vape Campaign on the tricky subject of 10ml bottles makes for grim reading:

To explain how absurd this is, if a vaper were to use 5ml of liquid per day, it equates to around 1,800ml over a year. If buying in 100ml size bottles, the packaging only extends to 18 bottles per annum.

Under TPD regulations, though, the number of plastic bottles required increases ten-fold to 180. Again, for no reason whatsoever; the very definition of “avoidable”.

Multiply those 160 odd extra bottles by the nearly 3 million vapers in the UK according to the most recent surveys, and that equates to a huge amount of plastic waste which is entirely unnecessary.

Now that’s quite scary even if you hardly ever consider the environment…

It’s Not Just Plastic Vaping Waste Either

The FVC has just launched a campaign to lobby the UK Government about this thorny issue and point out that it’s not just the plastic to blame – though that’s obviously a major concern – but also the rest of the ‘enforced’ e-liquid packaging.

Spokesman Martin Cullip wrote:

Additionally, many liquid sellers prior to enforcement of the TPD sold liquid in glass bottles, not plastic ones.

And this is without even mentioning the additional regulation requiring that vape juice must be accompanied with a leaflet.

Many suppliers did not sell bottles of fluid in boxes before the TPD and now need to manufacture boxes just to keep leaflets in.

The result of the TPD has been a huge rise in the level of environmental waste. If the government is serious about green issues and tackling waste, it is a no-brainer that they should scrap the TPD regulations on vaping the moment we leave the EU in March 2019.

Wise words indeed.

[bctt tweet=”The result of the TPD has been a huge rise in the level of environmental waste. If the government is serious about green issues & tackling waste, it’s a no-brainer they should scrap the TPD regs on vaping the moment we leave the EU.” username=”ecigclick”]

Yes You Can Re-Cycle Empty E-Liquid Bottles – Probably!

I tried to tackle this subject last May following the arrival of the TPD/TRPR and contacted the Green Party not once but three times and didn’t receive a single reply – so much for them caring about the environment lol.

I also tried to clear up the issue that has done the rounds that any plastic container that once contained nicotine could NOT be re-cycled even if it had been rinsed out.

None of the local authorities I contacted got back to me on this sticky question either – a recurring theme if bureaucrats haven’t got a clue I guess.

However and after numerous attempts I did manage to find a bloke in the European Union willing to tackle the subject.

tpd eu legislation

Sadly his reply to the simple question ‘can empty e-liquid bottles that contained nicotine be re-cycled’ was a little shall we say garbled:

One of the four legislative files of the waste package covers packaging and packaging of waste. Provisions and ongoing discussions are focused on the re-use and recycling of plastic, among other many materials, in general terms.

Targets are set for the re-use and recycling of Plastic for 2025 and 2030 as well as measures for the collections of plastics.

Ummm thanks for that – as clear as mud – there’s your EU working on your behalf right there lol.

Luckily we have our own waste management specialist to rely on none other than vaping octogenarian and vape advocate Terry Walker.

To say he’s an expert in waste management is selling him short – he is/was the experts/expert!

He told me that ‘categorically YES!’ empty plastic e-liquid bottles can be re-cycled and added:

Virtually any waste stream is capable of being recycled if one puts in the effort. The question really is one of cost benefit. Recycling is only viable if one can sell the product and make a reasonable profit.

The recycling of scrap metal and waste paper are two examples which are very market dependent. Sometimes the “bottom falls out of the market” with a consequential fall in value which can lead to the waste stream being sent to landfill.

The only time that cost benefit does not enter the equation that I can think of is the recycling of atomic waste where the driving forces are Safety and the formation of Plutonium, which only exists in nature in tiny amounts viz. parts / billion.

From that I’m guessing if you actually pin your local recycling centre down on if it’s OK to chuck empty e-liquid bottles into the plastic recycle bins the answer will vary from council to council!


China Crisis Is Taxing

Which brings us to the sudden decision by China to stop taking the UK’s waste plastic.

Daft as it sounds we were sending 500,000 tonnes on plastic to China every year – however that’s about to stop.

In order to ‘improve their industries’ the Chinese Government says it will no longer be a dumping ground for the UK’s rubbish.

recycling assoc

According to Simon Ellin the Chief Executive of the UK Recycling Association – this is very bad news indeed:

It’s a huge blow for us… a game-changer for our industry. We’ve relied on China so long for our waste… 55% of paper, 25% plus of plastics.

We simply don’t have the markets in the UK. It’s going to mean big changes in our industry.

Trust me when any business or association says something a long the lines of ‘big changes in our industry’ you can bet your bottom dollar they mean shoving the extra cost on us the consumers.

According to the BBC The Commons Environmental Audit Committee is already planning a ‘sliding tax’ on plastic products with those harder to recycle charged more – like I said the cost will trickle down to us.

Which is of course our dear friends the European Union are considering with their ‘war on plastic waste’.

Hot of the presses this morning is news that they are planning to spend £310m on ‘research’ on how best to tackle plastic waste – how much??!!

I can help them out a bit here – removing the ridiculous 10ml bottle and associated packaging from e-liquids would be a start!

EU Vice President Frans Timmermans said:

One of the challenges we face is to explain to consumers that arguably some of the options in terms of the colour of bottles you can buy will be more limited than before.

But I am sure that if people understand that you can’t buy that lively green bottle, it will have a different colour, but it can be recycled, people will buy into this.

Yeah it’s all about the colour of the bottles lol – yes I know some coloured plastics can’t apparently be recycled but why not start by removing one of your own stupid and unnecessary laws as a sign of good faith – and remove that 10ml limit!

Think of the amount of plastic waste you could save right there!

But hey why bother when instead they are considering introducing a ‘plastic levy’ better known as yet another tax passed on to us!

So What Do E-Liquid Manufactures and Advocacy Groups Say?

So it’s all very well me as a vaper ‘gobbing off’ about this 10ml rule and the impact on the environment – I mean I might have a bit of a hippy streak after all…

But what does this industry we love and support have to say?

Decadent Vapours Mint Choc Chip review

I spoke to the team at Decadent Vapours and their MD Archie Powell was gracious enough to let me know their thoughts:

Being environmentally aware has been a priority for us since we began in 2009 and having to change from the larger bottles to smaller went totally against this – for example, one 30ml bottle weighs 9g whereas the equivalent three 10ml bottles come in at a whopping 21g, over 130% more – truly shocking!

Something has to be done about this and although our bottles are recyclable and are marked as such on the label, we have to rely on the various bodies in the recycling chain to do the right thing and dispose of them correctly.

Decadent Vapours will get fully behind any efforts to change the amount of plastic used and research together as an industry towards greener solutions.

The same thoughts were echoed by the New Nicotine Alliance.

Their spokesman said:

The EU legislators botched together inappropriate restrictions on e-cigarettes and liquids, not only depriving consumer choice, but in the case of 10ml bottles, adding to the mountain of plastic waste.

The NNA would like to see these restrictions taken out of the tobacco regulations. Manufacturers also have a responsibility to try, where possible within the regulations, to limit the environmental burden, making containers, devices and packaging more easily recyclable.

I’ll leave the final word to Brian Coe from Vapers Stand United as you can see from the image he kindly sent me to use – VSU has been raising this very issue for quite sometime.

10ml e-liquid bottles effect on environment

I think we all agree from both a vaping point of view and indeed for the protection of our planet – the 10ml rule needs to end at the earliest opportunity – because this makes for shocking reading.

I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.


  1. Now I only Vape, from 20 a day average. I produce very little plastic waste because I mix my own. 1 litre nicotine (75mg strength) lasts over a year so 1 x 1lt plastic bottle waste. PG and VG = 2 x 1lt plastic bottles waste plus 3 x 100ml flavour bottles.
    So in one year I have 3 x 1lt plastic bottles and 3 x 100ml bottles. (Plus I recycle the 100ml bottles to hold the mixed juice).


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