Vape Batteries: Care and Recycling Explained
Vaping is an increasingly popular and successful method for smokers to put their habit behind them. With this increasaing adoption, the understanding of battery care and recycling is more important than ever. Proper maintenance of the battery in your vape kit is essential to ensure that you get the most lifespan out of your kit while knowing how to recycle will mean you’re doing your bit to reduce the impact on the environment. In this article, we’ll discuss how to safely use and care for the battery in your vape device and how to responsibly dispose of it.
Types of Vape Batteries
You are spoilt for choice with the wide range of vape kits on offer, everything from the discreet mouth to lung pod kits, disposables and cloud-chasing sub-ohm powerhouses. Each of these utilises some type of lithium battery that is either single-use or rechargeable and we’ll break down what you need to know to make sure these are properly looked after and, where they can go once they are done, let’s dig in.
An internal battery means that the battery is built into the vape device and will have a power capacity that ranges from 250-3000mAh. Internal batteries can't and shouldn't be removed. When you need to recycle the device, just drop it off at your local electronic waste recycling depot where they have the facility to properly dismantle and recycle each componant.
Disposable vapes, refillable pod kits and some sub-ohm kits will contain an internal battery. A disposable vape battery is made of lithium metal and is non-rechargeable. As a result of this design, it is extremely important that these single use devices be reycled correctly as most users will typically go through around 4 disposables a week, with governement research suggesting that as many as 1.3 million disposable vapes are being thrown away every week. That works out to about 10 tonnes of lithium a year, or enough to power 1200 electric cars.
Rechargeable built-in batteries use lithium-ion and can be recharged by plugging the device into a suitable charging cable, these are usually supplied with the kit or you can purchase one seperately. Most rechargeable vape kits utilise Type-C charging, although some older devices may use Mini USB.
Under no circumstances should you ever try to take apart a rechargeable vape kit with a built-in battery. These kits include a range of safety features which regulate the battery to prevent it from overheating or short-circuiting and any interference with these or damage to the battery can pose a serious fire risk. This is another reason it is important to recycle your vape device instead of just throwing it in the trash as if these batteries are damaged when the garbage is crushed they can easily explode and cause fires.
Sub-ohm vape kits require a lot of power and will often incorporate an external battery design, typically using either an 18650 or 21700 rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a charge capacity ranging from 2600-4200mAh. Why are they called 18650 or 21700 batteries you may ask? Well its quite straight forward really, it's just denotes the length and width of the battery, eg: 18650 = W 18mm + L 65mm.
These batteries are wrapped in a protective PVC covering and an insulator disk which serves to isolate the positive and negative terminals. You should regularly inspect the wrappig and insulator for damage, which could cause the battery to overheat or explode. If you find that your battery's cover is damaged in anyway, stop using it immediately, place it in a protective plastic casing of its own and recycle it.
Z200 Vape Kit by Geek Vape
The advantage of using external batteries is that you can purchase and charge additional batteries and keep them as a handy back up to keep you vaping for longer. They can be charged in your sub-ohm mod using the Type-C USB port and a suitable cable that is usually provided when you purchase the kit.
Alternatively you can remove the batteries and charge them in an external battery charger, this offers several advantages, namely; much faster charging times than using the mod, more efficient charging which will greatly improve the lifespan of your batteries and finally the option to keep a selection of multiple batteries fully charged and on rotation so that you never have to experience any downtime.
XTAR VC4 Battery Charger
Battery Care Top Tips
·Use the correct charging plug or source and cable as stated by the manufacturer.
·Avoid contantly running the battery down completely or charging to full capacity - this may shorten the lifespan of the battery.
·Avoid direct sunlight and avoid extreme temperatures and moisture.
·Do not attempt to open your vape kit to access the battery.
·Recycle the entire device at your nearest recycling center where it will be dismantled.
·Contact surfaces must be clean and dry every time you install the batteries.
·+ and - terminals must be aligned correctly.
·Use the correct charging equipment as specified by the manufacturer.
·Remove the batteries if you are not going to be using your vape for several months.
·Store spare batteries in a protective casing - loose batteries can spark a fire if they come into contact with coins or keys.
·Keep your batteries in a dry place at room temperature. Avoid extreme temperatures and direct sunlight.
·Do not attempt to recharge batteries unless they clearly state that they are rechargeable.
·Leaking batteries will form a crystalline residue on the batteries - make sure you wrap and recycle these.
·Check for damage to the the PVC covering - wrap and safely recycle if you find any cracks or tears.
How to recycle vapes and batteries
There are a number of good reasons to recycle your batteries instead of just throwing them away with general waste. Firstly, valuable lithium metal makes up the bulk of the battery, there is a finite amount of this on the planet and it should be recycled properly to ensure that it doesn’t go to waste. Carelessly discarded batteries can easily end up polluting waterways and poisoning the surrounding environment with discharge. Another crucial factor to consider is the high power density of lithium batteries. If these they are not properly recycled, they are very likely to get crushed and ignite, causing fires.
The good news is that you can recycle your old vape and batteries as electronic waste, even if you can’t remove the battery from the device, all you have to do is bag them and visit your local recycling centre which you can find online using a recycling locator.
Where can you recycle vapes and batteries?
Recycling collection of electrical waste - if you’re lucky, your local council may have a collection scheme for electronic waste recycling.
Local recycling centre - You can search online to find where your nearest electronic waste recycling centre is, bag your devices and batteries and drop them off.
Recycling banks - These are located on streets and in supermarkets across the UK and are emptied on a regular basis. A quick online search should tell you where your nearest one is located.
In-store at the place of purchase - it's worth enquiring with the retailer you purchased your vape from as they may have their own collection point for battery recycling.
Can I put my old vape in the bin?
Old vapes and batteries should NEVER just be thrown in with the general waste as there is a risk of fire if they spark or get crushed and they can also pollute waterways and the surrounding environment.
Why should I recycle my vape battery?
You should recycle your vape battery to prevent the waste of lithium, which is a rare and finite material, to minimise the impact your vaping lifestyle has on the environment and to prevent the risk of fires.
How do I travel safely with vape batteries?
There are a number of dos and don’ts to consider when you fly abroad with your vape device and we answer all your questions in our article dedicated to flying with vapes
Taking care of your vape batteries and ensuring they are recycled properly will ensure that you prolong their lifespan and is crucial to minimising the negative impact on the environment. Remember to always handle your batteries with care and look for your nearest electrical waste recycling center or collection point when they are at the end of their life.