The Great Vape Debate: Environment Edition

The Great Vape Debate continues with a new focus as various outlets have reported vaping to be badly damaging the environment. While the impact of vaping on the environment is a limited area of study, several doom merchant articles lack a fairly basic requirement for reputable reporting: scientific evidence. Yes, it may be dubious to state that vaping is ‘good’ for the environment, but the improvement versus traditional smoking is impressive. Nearing the end of Zero-Waste Week, we want to lay out the difference you’re making by switching to vaping, alongside some tips and tricks for keeping it as eco-friendly as possible!

Is Vaping Better for The Environment?

Chemicals in E Liquid Vs Chemicals in Cigarettes:
Smoking tobacco is notorious for its abundance of harmful chemicals. Not only bad for your health, over 4,000 chemicals introduced to the environment in the process of smoking (namely particulate tar and carbon monoxide) inherently increase the levels of dangerous pollutants in our atmosphere. When you consider the sheer volume of smokers worldwide, the pollution from cigarettes becomes a real worry for the environment. So what about the chemicals released from Vaping? CASAA (Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association) published a study that ultimately found both the quality and quantity of chemical pollutants released by vaping to be significantly less than smoking. Citing evaporation as opposed to burning, the lack of harmful chemicals in the E-liquids and the absence of sidestream smoking: e-cigarettes are the winning choice for the environment.

Cigarette Butt Pollution:
You probably step on several cigarette butts a day without even noticing due to the fact they’re pretty much everywhere in our environment, in fact, cigarette butts are the world’s most common form of litter. Over 4.5 trillion toxic butts are littered each year and are responsible for up to 40% of litter collected globally. The toxins used in the production of cigarette filters and leftover tobacco easily find their way into the ecosystem, sometimes leading to ingestion by birds, fish and other wildlife. This is devastating to the environment. A single butt with a small amount of unburnt tobacco is enough to contaminate a whole litre of water and kill half the fish swimming in it. Created using cellulose acetate, their non-biodegradable nature makes them public enemy number one for our ecosystem, taking between 18 months and 12 years to decompose.

Tobacco Environmental Damage:
Another issue regarding the damage tobacco does to the environment lies in the mass deforestation required for tobacco production. While still an issue within the vaping industry, the amount of tobacco used for nicotine extraction alone is far less damaging to the climate and environment than that of smoking. Tobacco farming incurs extensive damage to the biodiversity and habitats of plant and animal life alike; alongside soil erosion and degradation, and an undeniable contribution to climate change.

How To Become An Eco Friendly Vaper:
Assuming you’re reading this as a passionate vaper; you’re doing great for both your body, and the planet! But there are a few tips we’d like to offer to keep vaping sustainable.

Refill Your Vape Device! 
·While single-use devices may seem convenient for a quick-fix, refillable devices are widely available and incredibly popular among newbies and experts alike. With a variety of devices to choose from, finding the right fit will save money and wasted materials, with the added bonus of choosing from an endless list of flavours to try each time you refill.

Recycle Your E Liquid Bottles and Batteries!
·TPD regulations are great for the regulation of nicotine consumption, but the 10ml restriction set on E-liquids containing it means a crazy amount of those tiny plastic bottles. But fear not! Most manufacturers (including us!) use recyclable plastic, and it’s becoming increasingly common for disposable cartridges too. So you can easily recycle your E Liquid bottles by putting them into the right recycle bin. 
·Vape batteries have the handy advantage of always being recyclable, so at the end of their lives, it’s super easy to recycle your batteries. With recycling points in a range of supermarkets, corner shops and collection points, you’re sure to find a place to recycle your vape battery.

Shop Locally for Vape Supplies!
·Buying locally is a great way to support often independent businesses and the local economy but of course, not an easy option for everyone looking for fresh flavours to suit their tastes.
·Online retail is growing by the day and with a range of companies now offering a huge range of E-liquids that are manufactured in-house (again, including us!), the process avoids unnecessary air miles from start to finish.

The Future of Vaping and The Environment:
Non-tobacco nicotine (NTN) is a way to produce odourless, flavourless, stronger nicotine synthetically without the need for tobacco farming. While the vaping industry is going from strength-to-strength each year, NTN is still prohibitively expensive for commercial production. We truly hope to see it gain traction in the future though, as another step forward for our eco-friendly industry.