The UK Government must do more to tackle disposable vape waste
Grateful that the Scottish Government is committed to looking urgently at the issue of disposable vapes on health and environmental terms. It's clearly vital that we support smoking cessation and do all we can to help those trying to stop smoking, but these disposables are often used by young folk who've never smoked, and are causing untold damage to the environment. Even when you chuck them in the bin, they can't be properly dealt with as waste. I am grateful for the sensible words of ASH Scotland on this, given their role in smoking cessation work.
I recently spoke with the Financial Times about my concerns regarding disposable vapes, and this week I raised research the FT had done alongside Material Focus, looking further at this issue.
Their research indicated that 90% of vape and vape juice producers in the UK appear to be failing to comply with environmental regulations - of over 150 of the most significant vape and vape juice producers in the UK, only 16 had registered to comply with environmental regulations for producer responsibility for waste electricals, portable batteries, and packaging.
The companies identified have not registered with UK environment agencies for various environmental regulations which mandate that they contribute to the costs of recycling of the products and packaging they sell when they reach their end of life.
Their research also found that sales of disposable single-use vapes are now around 138 million per annum, which would be equivalent to providing the lithium in the batteries for over 2,500 electric vehicles in the UK, and that with the amount of copper contained inside a vape, this would provide enough copper to power more than 370,000 home electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
Whether on environmental grounds (have you seen the sheer numbers of these which are littered? follow Less Waste Laura for more on this), or because of concerns about young non-smokers being the target of clever marketing and then taking up vaping using disposable vapes, the UK Government need to act with an urgency equivalent to the Scottish Government, because we can't continue like this.