If you vape as a way to quit smoking, then you, like the estimated 3.2 million vapers in the UK, will know how they have benefitted your lifestyle and helped you on your way to becoming smoke-free. But where it was once easy and relatively simple to dispose of your extinguished cigarette responsibly, how do you dispose of vape pods and cartridges in an equally responsible manner?
In the days that you used to smoke, getting rid of your finished cigarette was simple. Stubbing out your cigarette and disposing of it in the nearest bin or ashtray was commonplace. But what about vaporisers? With several components working in tandem to provide you with the nicotine hit that curbs your cravings to light-up; throwing your vaping kit away after one use is hardly viable in your quest to become smoke-free affordably and responsibly.
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 for 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.
Estimates suggest that there could be 55 million vapers around the world by 2021. Should the millions of devices and e-liquids that are consumed aren’t disposed of properly and responsibly, the potential cost to our environment could be much more damaging than you might first expect. While e-cigarettes and vape pens are helping millions of ex-smokers stay smoke-free, the materials that these devices are made, 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.
The Impact of E-Waste
Vaping requires a number of products that will inevitably have a limited lifetime. This means that any of your waste that you are unable to recycle at home, should be dealt with and discarded in a responsible manner and at your nearest e-waste facility.
If you vape, you’ll know that there are a number of parts that constitute your device's ability to provide you with the nicotine hit that your body craves once you’ve quit smoking. As such, any negligence on your behalf after you’ve used items such as e-liquid bottles, batteries, and e-liquid tanks, has the potential to result in quite the environmental disaster. While vaping is safer than smoking, the materials found in e-cigs as mentioned above means that the more devices and pods that are sold, the more hazardous materials are left to harm the earth. The Daily Mail reported that popular vape company JUUL have sold somewhere in the region of 162 million devices with 20 million sold in a single month. As the popularity of vaping increases exponentially, should that number of devices be sent straight to landfill, the future health of our planet may look particularly bleak.
How to Recycle Vape Pods and Cartridges the Right Way
Whether it’s your battery, device casing, 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 items such as 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 wait. 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. Where these afford a quick and easy way for vapers to vape, disposing of these items aren’t necessarily as easy, but it can be done. 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. If you’re directed to recycle your pods then have no fear, for there are multiple locations e-waste facilities across the country.
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.
Now we know about 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, that means 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 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 6 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 for the environment should they be tossed out with the rest of your household waste and sent to 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.
Vape responsibly and do your bit by recycling responsibly as well.