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On September 8, BBC, a study by Material Focus, a British circulation campaign organization, found that five million disposable vapes are discarding every week in the UK. It is a fourfold increase from last year.
Material Focus is a non-profit organization dedicate to increase recycling rates. Recently, they calculate that UK adults buy about 30 million vapes(including different kinds of vape pens, vape pods, vape mods, e cigar vapes, etc) monthly. This calculation is based on data from a Yougov survey of 5,156 people.
In addition, the study found that only 17% of disposable vape users properly dispose of their waste vapes in the recycling bin.
Disposable vapes contain copper wires and lithium batteries, these are valuable materials. Material Focus estimates that the batteries in all the discarded disposable vapes yearly is enough to power 5,000 electric cars.
By law, every place that sells vapes is supposed to accept the used disposable vapes. However, that needs facilities that costs and many places don’t offer.
Thus, the vape industry is working to increase recycling rates. The potential annual cost of recycling all of these vapes is at £200m. The vape manufacturer, importer or retailer will bear these cost.
Scott Butler, executive director of Material Focus, says:
“There’s far more vapes thrown on the floor, and in public bins and kitchen bins than are being recycled. Currently, recycling facilities are a long way from what we need. It needs to be as easy to recycle as it is to buy them.“
Moreover, vapes mixing with other household waste may cause fire in garbage trucks and disposal facilities. Lithium batteries, including in the disposable vapes, cause fires about once a day, according to waste disposal company Veolia.
A spokesman for ELFBAR, the UK’s popular disposable vape brand, says they are “fully commit to improve the recycling rates”. Moreover, they are improving the recycle ability of their products by setting up thousands of drop-off points in retail stores.
In addition, more and more vape manufacturers are R&D recycle sloutions about the disposable vapes.
John Dunne, director general of the UK Vaping Industry Association, said the industry is growing so fast that it is difficult to keep up. But many independent vaping shops now has set up recycling facilities to recycle disposable vape pens.
In addition, a UK government spokesman said:
“The government is very concerned about the environmental impacts of disposable vapes and will shortly publish a response to its call for evidence on vaping which closed in June.”
In addition, the Scottish government is considering a ban on disposable vapes. Parliaments in England and Wales call for a ban in July, partly because they could cause problems with waste disposal.