How To Dispose of Pods and Cartridges Responsibly
Millions across the UK use e-cigarettes as a means to quit smoking. But while there are fewer side effects, vaping has become a hot topic for the environmentally concerned. How do we discard disposable vapes securely? And what of coils, tanks and most importantly batteries? Which bins do they go in? It’s reported that over three million vapes are thrown away each week in the UK, with half a billion in circulation. If not disposed of properly, batteries alone can damage wildlife and our water supply when discarded in general waste. So what should we do to help protect the environment?
How to Recycle Vape Pods and Cartridges the Right Way
Whether it’s your battery, coils, or e-liquid tank, the disposal of your vaping equipment is your responsibility and one that should be considered an essential aspect of your vaping. The good news is that recycling vape pods and cartridges is easy, as long as you know how to. What’s even better is that the majority of your vaping essentials can be put straight into your weekly recycling. But rather than throwing your equipment straight into your recycling box, you will firstly need to take the time to disassemble and clean your items.
Let’s start with e-liquid cartridges and vape pods before moving on to batteries. Firstly, manufacturers of different cartridges and pods will use different materials. Check your packaging, as well as the bottom of your cartridge or pod. If a symbol denoting its recyclability is found, you’ll know that you can move forward and start disassembling. Just bear in mind that each part will need to be recycled in a different bin. There are websites dedicated to helping the public find the closest household waste and recycle facilities for electricals, plastics and everything else in between around the UK.
Now, onto disassembling your recyclable items. Rinse your cartridges and pods as a way of removing any excess and unwanted e-liquid residue. Next up, you’ll need to disassemble your cartridge or pod. Separate all plastics, glass and metals and wash again thoroughly. Once you’re satisfied that you’ve removed all the e-liquid, go ahead and put your separate components into your corresponding recycling receptacles.
What About Refillable Tanks?
After understanding how to dispose of cartridges and pods responsibly, you may also be wondering whether the same can be said for refillable tanks. A more environmentally friendly way to vape compared with the aforementioned pre-filled cartridges and pods, refillable tanks won’t need to be recycled as often as the more disposable items. Nevertheless, refillable tanks will eventually experience some natural wear and tear, meaning you’ll need to recycle them and replace them eventually.
In just a few minutes, you’ll be able to disassemble and clean your unwanted items and recycle responsibly. With a twist here and an unscrew there, carefully separate the individual components of your cartridge. The aim of the game here is to separate any glass, plastic or ceramic items for them to be recycled efficiently. Once disassembled, make sure you clean any e-liquid residue that may be lurking in the nooks and crannies of your kit. Liquid nicotine poses a danger to the environment, therefore taking the time to soak your unwanted items suitably before discarding them should be in your interest and that of mother earth as well.
Because profiled cartridges and pods will need to be disposed of more frequently, the best thing you can do to help the environment is to start using a refillable tank and e-liquid bottles. While you’ll need to fill your tanks regularly with your favourite e-liquid, you’ll significantly reduce your waste, and in turn, play an eco-conscious role as you vape.
How to Dispose of E-Cigarette Batteries
Depending on your chosen device, as well as how often you vape, your e-cig battery will only last for so long before it starts to lose its ability to fire up your device like it once did when it was all shiny and new. Like anything in life; be it a car, tv or washing machine, electronic items have a finite lifespan before they need to be replaced. Lasting anywhere between six months and a year, your e-cigarette battery is no exception. However, it will be of benefit to you and your vaping experience to replace the battery when you start noticing a few telltale signs. If your battery isn’t fully charging or you are noticing that your battery isn’t lasting as long as it once did, then now may be the time to invest in some more power.
Similarly to maintaining other items in your vaping arsenal, taking the time to look after your battery will also stand you in good stead. Avoid leaving your battery plugged in as any overcharging will limit its life.
But what do you do once your battery life has diminished? Aside from purchasing a new one, disposing of your battery responsibly is as essential as disposing of your vape pods and cartridges. Batteries contain some pretty hazardous chemicals that are dangerous to the environment - meaning they should not be tossed out with the rest of your household waste and sent to a landfill.
Once you’ve removed the battery from your device, simply head for a designated battery drop-off point that can be found at supermarkets, as well as, of course, your local recycling centre.
Should You Throw a Disposable Vape Directly Into Recycling?
Disposables from the likes of Elf Bar and Geek Bar are the latest craze in the vaping industry. While increasing in popularity because of their simplicity, many also see them as endangering our planet because they’re used for a few days and then thrown away, with the batteries and other components still inside.
Despite the sceptics, it's ok to use disposable vapes as long as they’re recycled correctly and not ending up in general waste, which can then find its way into landfill, causing all sorts of issues. Before heading to the recycling centre, why not collect a few disposables and take all those empties together to reduce your carbon footprint too?
Plus, an even better solution than tossing away the entire device if time permits are to dismantle the device yourself. Start by removing the battery and then cleaning the small plastic pieces like the tank which contained the e-liquid and the small coil, also giving that a wash as well as the cotton wick, before disposing of each component in the correct bags for the recycling and waste management centre in your area. They will be able to advise where all the key components in your disposable vape should be thrown away correctly.
Are E-Cigarettes Bad for the Environment?
We live in an ever-increasing eco-conscious age; one that implores us to consume responsibly and in turn, recycle, reuse and repurpose our unwanted items for the sake of planet earth’s health. While e-cigarettes are up to 95% less harmful to our health; from an ecological point of view, without the necessary and responsible recycling of vaping equipment, they could prove to be much more damaging to the environment than the littering of traditional cigarettes.
Should the millions of devices and e-liquids consumed not be disposed of properly and responsibly, the potential cost to our environment could be much more damaging than you might first expect. While single-use disposables and longer-term solutions like vape pens are helping millions of ex-smokers stay smoke-free, the materials that these devices are made with, let alone the e-liquid and battery acid that might seep into the earth, is an ecological hazard that can be easily avoided - should we all take the time and effort to recycle responsibly.