With the recent ban on disposable vapes in the UK welcomed by many, we’re sure they’ll be around for a while longer at least – so let’s look into how easily they can be disposed of and why they’re so dangerous.
Disposable vapes have become popular since the smoking ban and changes to cigarette packaging were put in place. With a wide range of flavours and colours, disposable vapes are the new way for people to get their nicotine fix.
However, from a recycling perspective, having thousands of pretty-coloured plastic tubes filled with chemicals and a battery going in the bin is an environmental nightmare. Since they’re disposable and can’t be re-used or re-charged, they go straight to recycling and waste centres, which is where the problem lies.
The batteries inside these vapes contains lithium, a metal that is relatively hard to recycle. Why? Well, when these lithium-ion batteries are damaged, pierced or pressurised, they explode. This is why there are dedicated drop off points in recycling centres for products that contain these types of batteries.
However, there has been a recent increase in fires at scrap metal and recycling centres where vapes have been left inside waste bins or not disposed of correctly, leaving them to get damaged and set alight. So much so that recycling centres are now installing thermal imaging cameras at their sites to spot potential blazes before they get out of control.
According to recent records from Material Focus who run the Recycle your Electricals campaign, over 1.3 million disposable vapes are thrown away each week. The British Metals Recycling Association highlighted the dangers of products containing lithium-ion batteries, such a vapes and e-bikes, back in February. They said that the growing problem is not only putting the public at risk, but all those working at scrap metal and recycling centres.
We don’t recycle batteries or electricals here at Singleton’s – so be sure you’re not including them in any batches of scrap that you bring to us. We urge everybody to find a suitable recycling site for any vapes and other lithium-ion batteries.
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