Disposable e-cigarettes and e-waste

Your disposable vape “is killing the planet, one lithium battery and non-degradable colourful plastic casing at a time.”


The Express carries a story about the unexpected health dangers of smoking – that is, the health of the planet:

Cigarette filters are the most littered item in England and experts are worried about their impact on the environment.

Smoking warning as cigarettes block pavements and drains and harm planet | Science | News | Express.co.uk

The Express also carried an advertorial about how we need to be ‘disposing of your vape properly’ 

This is indeed a big story – as covered elsewhere:

Campaigner lobbies government to ban disposable vapes as a threat to the environment

Disposable E-cigarettes: Small WEEE needs a big solution

But most of us have no idea:

We throw away two disposable vapes every second in the UK

Do you put your Elf Bar in the bin? Or do you take it apart, recycle the plastic casing and bring the battery to your local battery recycling centre? You don’t have to lie. It goes in the bin. And to be honest, that’s better than some of your mates. How many times have you left a pub, club or festival and seen them on the ground?

In the last year, Elf Bars have exploded in popularity. A study from earlier this year found Elf Bar and Geek Bar together make up 60 per cent of all disposable vape sales in the UK. On TikTok, the hashtag #elfbar has 984 million views and it’s a number that continues to rise. Whilst Elf Bars, like all vapes, are significantly better for your lungs than smoking, our society’s collective Elf Bar phase is killing the planet, one lithium battery and non-degradable colourful plastic casing at a time. Us Brits are so hooked to single-use vapes that it is estimated we throw two away every second in the UK.

It’s time to admit that your Elf Bar habit is killing the planet

The Bureau of Investigative Journalists have been looking into the issues:

Rise of single-use vapes sending tonnes of lithium to landfill

Millions of disposable vapes that could be recycled are ending up in landfill despite containing lithium, an in-demand metal needed for batteries.

A joint investigation by the Bureau, Sky News and the Daily Telegraph suggests that two disposable vapes are being thrown away every second in the UK. Over a year, this is enough lithium to make roughly 1200 electric car batteries.

Sales of disposable vapes are currently booming. A survey by Opinium – on behalf of Material Focus, a not-for-profit recycling organisation – found 18% of 4,000 people surveyed had bought a vape in the previous year, with 7% buying a single-use device. Having virtually disappeared, disposable vapes now appear to be driving the growth in the overall e-cigarette market.

Rise of single-use vapes sending tonnes of lithium to landfill — The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (en-GB)

It’s very difficult to recycle them at the moment:

Recycle vapes – Find a local recycling point

But some retailers are doing what they can:

Why I introduced a disposable vape recycling point in my store | Features and analysis | Convenience Store

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