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Disposable Vape Consultation Inspires New Recycling Service

Disposable Vape Consultation Inspires New Recycling Service
12 September 2023

As the government prepares for a consultation on the safety of disposable vapes, waste management provider Reconomy has launched a new recycling programme for e-cigarettes.

According to The Telegraph, a consultation on disposable vapes by the Department of Health and Social Care is on its way, with government minister Michelle Donelan telling Sky News that the government would be making “further announcements” on a potential ban.

As well as the health implications, it is estimated that 1.3 million disposable vapes are thrown away every week in the UK (67.6 million a year). Disposable vapes contain materials which make them very difficult to recycle, such as plastic, copper and lithium batteries. Additionally, the highly flammable nature of lithium batteries has also caused fires in bin lorries and injured workers at waste processing centres.

Currently, vapes are being disposed of via waste methods that are unable to mitigate the environmental risks associated with the hazardous material composition of single-use vapes.

Reconomy’s new service provides dedicated waste containers which are collected and transported to a recycling facility. The vapes are then sorted by hand into different brands before batch processing. Following this, the end of the cap is removed and the contents of the vape are ejected and separated so that the valuable plastics and metals can be appropriately processed and recovered. The batteries are sent to an Approved Battery Treatment Operator or Approved Battery Exporter for recycling and the wick, filter and nicotine are incinerated as per The Environment Agency’s requirements.

The service is complimented by the Vape Takeback Scheme offered through Valpak by Reconomy which provides the 2,000+ vape retailers in the UK with a fully compliant collection and recycling service. It allows retailers to provide a container for customers to return their single-use vapes and transports them to a recycling facility for material recovery, re-use and end-of-life treatment.

Picture: a photograph of five brightly coloured disposable vapes on a pink background. Image Credit: Reconomy

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 12 September 2023


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