Using vapes as cessation tools is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to quitting tobacco, but with the climate crisis growing daily, it’s easy to feel partly accountable.
With disposables piling up in landfills and plastic pollution ever-growing, it’s nice to have a reminder of all the good being done to prevent the problem from getting worse.
There are a host of different companies who have used their initiative to work towards a sustainable future when it comes to vaping.
Many of those looking to curate a greener future should be building their recycling schemes on the new UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), a 22-point plan to inhibit disposables from damaging the environment further.
The plan directly calls for retail, consumers, product design, waste infrastructure and regulation to make effective changes in order to secure a landfill-free future for vaping.
In response to the action plan, many companies have elected to approach the issue in different ways, mainly through either free vape incentives and new drop off points for disposables.
Blo Bar were among the first in 2023 to initiate a scheme which encouraged users to recycle their empty vapes when that dreaded light signals the 600 puffs are out.
A spokesperson for the company said: “With incorrect disposal of vapes on the rise, the new scheme offers participants a free disposable vape when they send in ten used vapes from any brand to be recycled.”
Royal Mail have proposed a similar scheme, where consumers will also be given free vape devices in exchange for returning used products through recycling centres across London, Birmingham and Manchester.
The scheme is being facilitated by the SMOORE-owned brand FEELM, a vape company credited with designing ceramic coils as a recyclable alternative to cotton coils currently used in many popular disposables. Ruiqi Wang, spokesperson for SMOORE, said: “This is the first industrial whole chain recycling scheme, including manufacturers, brands, delivery companies, waste management companies and retailers and ultimately the consumers.”
Veolia, a global resource management company, have also invested in drop-off points at vape retailers across the UK, facilitating the collection and transport of the devices.
The nationwide recycling service will allow retailers to sign up for in-store customer drop-off containers that are specifically designed to minimise fire risks from lithium batteries. Veolia will then assist in transporting the disposables to recycling facilities where valuable materials from the devices, such as lithium or nickel, can be extracted and reused in car batteries.
The first vape retailer to sign up to the scheme was Totally Wicked, a nationwide network of 154 stores. Donald Macphail, Chief Operating Officer of Veolia, said: “Our new nationwide vape collection service will provide a safe recycling avenue to retailers who provide the mandatory take back scheme for vapes.
“As well as ensure that we can extract the valuable materials contained within.”
Outside of recycling schemes via drop-off points and collection services, partnerships between non-profits and vaping companies are also raising awareness for the better.
Elux recently won the Best Sustainable Initiative at the Vapouround Global Awards for its partnership with Project Greenwings, a non-profit flight crew organisation on a mission to elevate environmental sustainability.
Responses overall have been positive, with many environmental activists and political leaders excited for big changes. Labour MP Mary Glindon said:
“It is encouraging to see new vape recycling schemes being launched, and I hope that vapers will explore how to properly dispose of their devices.”
All of these forward thinking schemes in light of the UKVIA initiative will surely give hope to vapers who care about the environment without wanting to go cold turkey.
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