Five Million Disposable Vapes Are Discarded Per Week in The UK, Reveals Latest Research

Data compiled by recycling campaign group Material Focus, based on a survey of 5,156 people, found that an astounding 30 million disposables vapes are purchased per month, and about five million are disposed of weekly.

The study also found that only a mere 17% percent of the five million thrown disposables make it to the correct recycling bins. Recent reports from the UK indicated a large problem with this waste, as rubbish disposal centers have been experiencing fires caused by the flammable materials they contain, such as lithium-ion batteries. If disposed of appropriately, the risk of fire is reduced as the products would be thrown in dedicated bins at recycling centers that contain vermiculite, a natural fire retardant.

Meanwhile, Material Focus estimated that the number of vapes thrown away each year could provide enough batteries for 5,000 electric vehicles. However, achieving this would be a costly process. The thrown devices need to be transferred from the bins to a special recycling facility where they are dismantled manually. By law any retailer who sells vapes must take them back, but the annual cost of recycling vapes would be up around £200m.

Of course different stakeholders agree that this situation is very problematic. Executive director of Material Focus, Scott Butler, highlighted that there are way more disposables being thrown away carelessly than are being recycled. He added that something must be done so that it is as easy to dispose of the devices as it is to purchase them. Thankfully, he added, the government is expected to address the situation shortly.

Disposable vapes’ bans are spreading across Europe
Meanwhile, it has just been reported that UK ministers are planning to ban the products. The move to ban single-use vapes could come as soon as next week after the government concluded the products are overwhelmingly attracting minors. The Daily Telegraph said that the ban is reportedly being revealed in a consultation issued by the Department of Health and Social Care next week.

A bill to ban disposables was presented to the UK parliament last February and was due for a second reading on March 24th. However the bill never made it to the second reading where MPs would have debated it. At the time junior environment minister Rebecca Pow said the UK government had no plans to ban disposables.

Earlier this month the Prime Minister of France, Élisabeth Borne, revealed that the French government is also planning to ban disposable vapes, locally known as “puffs.” While Switzerland’s French-speaking cantons, with the exception of Vaud and Jura have already banned vape sales to to under 18s. While Basel-City and Basel-Landschaft in the German-speaking region of the nation have also introduced such bans.