Again the issue of Disposable Vape waste is being talked about in the media.
For instance the following news sites have had these articles on the topic:
- Sky News – Millions of disposable vapes containing valuable metal ending up in landfill.
- The Telegraph – Two vapes thrown away every second, wasting scarce materials needed for electric cars.
Sadly the Telegraph article is behind a paywall but it mentions that the amount of Lithium from disposables every year would be enough to build 1,200 car batteries!
According to the Sky News article two disposables are being thrown away every second. Therefore around 10 tonnes of Lithium is being chucked.
Each disposable apparently only contains less than 1/10 of a gramme of Lithium but the sheer quantity being wasted adds up.
Sky News quotes Mark Miodownik – the Professor of Materials and Society and University College London…
“We can’t be throwing these materials away, it really is madness in a climate emergency,”
“It’s in your laptop, it’s in your mobile phone, it’s in electric cars. This is the material that we are absolutely relying on to shift away from fossil fuels and address climate issues.”
A survey conducted by Opinium for the non-profit recycling organisation Material Focus found 18% of 4000 people surveyed had bought a vape in the previous year. 7% of those had bought a disposable. These figures applied to the whole of the UK could mean around 168 million disposables are bought annually in the UK.
Over half of users reported just discarding these in a bin rather than recycling correctly.
Two vapes thrown away every second, wasting scarce minerals needed for electric cars reports The UK Telegraph.
Amount of lithium discarded in disposable vapes every year is enough to build around 1,200 car batteries, new survey showshttps://t.co/RKzt2EoaxR
— INNCOorg (@INNCOorg) July 15, 2022
What Can Be Done To Solve This?
The UK has the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) regulations which says that producers bear responsibility to make sure their products are recycled and disposed of safely.
Apparently according to Sky News both manufacturers do not appear on the WEEE register and neither replied when asked for a comment on the situation.
I have looked on both the manufacturers’ websites and sadly there is no guide to recycling their devices.
Our wonderful Neil Humber wrote in 2021 about the issue and also contacted suppliers, trade associations and vendors for their response.
If you want advice on how to recycle these products please visit the recycleyourelectricals.org.uk website.