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Five million disposable vapes are thrown away each week in the Uk, according to research from recycling campaign group Material Focus.
September 8, 2023
Five million disposable vapes are thrown away each week in the UK, according to research from recycling campaign group Material Focus.
The research also concluded that only 17 percent of those five million vapes make it to the correct recycling bins. Vapes are notorious for causing fires in waste facilities if they are not disposed of correctly.
Material Focus, a non-profit organization that campaigns to increase recycling rates, found that UK adults purchase around 30 million vapes per month. Disposable vapes contain lithium-ion batteries and Material Focus estimates that the collective number of vapes thrown away each year could provide enough batteries for 5,000 electric vehicles.
Vapes should be thrown away in dedicated bins at recycling centers that contain vermiculite to reduce the risk of fires. Afterward the vapes are taken to a special recycling facility where they are dismantled by hand. The law states that any shop that sells vapes must take them back, but this service costs money. The annual cost of recycling all the vapes would be up around £200m.
"There's far more vapes thrown on the floor, and in public bins and kitchen bins than are being recycled," says Scott Butler, executive director of Material Focus. Current recycling facilities are "a long way from what we need. It needs to be as easy to recycle as it is to buy them."
"The government is very concerned about the environmental impacts of disposable vapes and will shortly publish a response to its call for evidence on vaping which closed in June,” said a UK government spokesperson.
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