E-CIGARETTE RECYCLING – A SIMPLE GUIDE
The devastating impact of cigarettes on human health is well researched. However, recent studies show that the tobacco industry, which produces six trillion cigarettes yearly, has a similar adverse impact on our planet. According to the World Health Organisation, not only does the tobacco industry cost the world 8 million human lives every year, but it also cuts down 600 million trees, uses 200,000 hectares of land, 22 billion tonnes of water and releases 84 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. As a result, many smokers are transitioning to the safer alternative of vaping. To help you reduce your carbon footprint as a vaper, this simple guide to e-cigarette recycling outlines how to dispose of each individual component of a vape appropriately.
1.Dismantle the E-Cigarette
Almost all the different elements of an e-cigarette can be recycled, but you must first dismantle its various parts so recycling companies can process them separately. Use your instruction manual to better understand how to unscrew and unclip each element, so it’s ready to be disposed of.
2.Use Battery Bins
All batteries are toxic and cannot be mixed with other waste products. Therefore, use designated battery bins to recycle your vape batteries safely. Many local authorities run battery collection schemes, or you can visit your local recycling centre or supermarket to drop off your used batteries.
3.Rinse the Cartridge
Used e-cigarette cartridges often contain liquid nicotine, which can harm the environment if not disposed of adequately. So, before popping your cartridge into your household recycling bin, rinse it thoroughly with water.
4.Tackle the Vaporiser Tank
The final step to e-cigarette recycling requires a little more care and attention. Vaporiser tanks are usually made from a combination of plastic, glass, rubber, resin drip tips and coils, most of which must be recycled individually. The drip tips are too small for recycling machinery and therefore should be placed in your usual waste bin along with any rubber. The metal elements of your vape tank, such as the coils, cannot be recycled at home. Therefore, they should be broken down and taken to your local tip to be distributed in the correct scrap metal bins. Once these pieces have been removed, the remaining plastic or glass tank should be placed in its corresponding recycle bin. If your tank is plastic, check the bottom to find a small triangle with a number between one and seven; this indicates the plastic type. Once you know the type of plastic, research where it can be disposed of appropriately.
Recycling Vape Kits and Mods
Vape kit and mod recycling are slightly different and depend on how the kit or mod was made. If it has an external battery, follow the usual procedure and use a local battery recycling bin. For vape kits with built-in batteries, drop them off at electronic recycling locations. As a general rule, as long as you can detach the tank or pod that holds e-liquid from the battery, it can most likely be recycled.
Recycling Disposable Vape and Pre-Filled Pods
When it comes to e-cigarette recycling, disposable vapes and pre-filled pods are the most challenging. How these devices are manufactured makes it difficult to separate them into their individual elements of plastic, metal and cotton. For this reason, you should dispose of them in your household bin to avoid recycling contamination. Alternatively, some vape businesses offer recycling loyalty schemes which reward vapers who send their used kits back to the company to be recycled.
Recycling Unwanted E-Liquid
E-liquids pose a risk to wildlife and the environment if they are disposed of incorrectly. Therefore, if you find yourself with unwanted e-liquid, first ask family and friends whether they are interested in taking it off your hands. If you don’t receive any interest, pour the e-liquid into absorbent material like cat litter, sawdust or wood chippings and place it in a biodegradable bag, throwing it away with your usual waste. Remember to recycle the e-liquid bottle too.