With over 1.3 million vape users in Australia, about 5.5% of the population, the amount of electronic waste (e-waste) produced in the environment is significant. Moreover, according to the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, about 17% of the Australian population aged 14+ smokes or uses vapes. This makes roughly 17.2 million vapes that go into trash every year in Australia.

While we cannot ignore its impact on health, the environmental implications of vapes are also considerable. This is because it produces a significant amount of waste, particularly lithium-ion batteries. There’s no reason to throw these batteries away when they’re completely recyclable.

This brings us to the most important question: How can we dispose of vapes in Australia so that we can cut down on environmental impact or maybe recycle the vapes?

To answer that, we need to first understand the harmful impact of vaping on the environment. Following this, we will shed light on the ways to dispose of different vapes and ways to recycle them.

The Impact of Vaping On the Environment

The main components inside the vaping devices are e-liquid, plastics, lithium, and other electronic components. When thrown away in bins and water bodies, they cause damage to the environment.

For instance, e-liquids leaking from vape can contaminate water bodies that can harm aquatic life. Similarly, when not disposed of carefully, the electronic waste in the vapes can cause fires and explosions as the batteries inside are flammable. And the worst part about vapes? They take hundreds of years to degrade, with the internal components contributing to landfills.

Overall, a large amount of such waste threatens the environment and requires proper disposal and recycling methods.

Which Vape Devices are Counted as Disposable Vapes?

Disposable vapes are also known as e-cigarettes. These are meant for single use only and come with a small amount (2-5mL) of prefilled liquid. Since these devices are lightweight, compact, and convenient to use, they have gained a lot of popularity in and around Australia.

Initially, these devices were equipped with non-rechargeable batteries. The purpose is to use the vape as long as there’s an e-liquid and dispose of it once the e-liquid finishes. However, disposable vapes have gotten a little larger over time, easily accommodating up to 15mL of e-liquid. These devices are now also equipped with USB ports for recharging, but they remain non-refillable.

That brings us to an important question: Is it okay to throw away disposable vapes in the bin? The answer is a simple no! Because of the presence of lithium-ion batteries in the vapes. They pose a fire hazard and may explode when compressed. Most of all, with a limited quantity of lithium on the earth, it’s not wise to just throw them away.

Then how to dispose of disposable vapes?

How to Dispose of Disposable Vapes in Australia

While this is an important question, even more important is to know where to dispose of vapes. The right answer is that they should be recycled.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Retailers

Many big businesses participate in battery recycling programs. Moreover, many small store owners in Australia also accept vapes for recycling purposes. Hence, the best practice is to contact the retailer or shop owner before dropping your vapes at their store.

2. B-Cycle

B-Cycle is a government-backed scheme that allows everyone, be it retailers, users, or shop owners, to give a new life to their dead batteries. For that, there are several drop-off points all around the country that you can find by searching for a nearby location. This scheme is basically run by the Battery Stewardship Council and is authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Competition.

3. Material Recovery Facilities

These are recycling centres that also accept a variety of recyclable materials. However, you need to contact them beforehand to learn whether they accept vaping components or not. Some of these recovery facilities are hand-sorted, and professionals disassemble the electronic and other recyclable components. There are also automated recovery facilities where robots and machines do the disassembling tasks.

How to Recycle Vape Components

Different vape components can be recycled in different ways as they are meant for different purposes. The following section covers how you can recycle different vape components.

1. Disposing of Plastics

You can begin by disassembling the vape device. The common components include mouthpieces, cartridges, plastic casing, etc. Determine the type of plastic in each component by reading their resin identification code (RIC). Find out what type of plastics your local recycling facilities accept and drop them off at the collection point.

2. Disposing of Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are an important component of vapes that only results in landfills when disposed of in the bins. You can preserve this valuable resource by detaching it from the device. This has been made easier by ALDI Australia, which responsibly disposes of and recycles several tonnes of batteries that would otherwise go to waste.

3. Disposing of e-liquids

The safest way you can dispose of e-liquids is to drop them to hazardous waste collection facilities. These facilities are equipped with all the essential components and measures to tackle harmful and damaging chemicals. You can always check with businesses involved in vapes and e-cigarettes to know if they ensure the responsible disposal of e-liquids.

In Conclusion

While switching from smoking to vaping will benefit your health in many ways, it has a negative impact on the environment at the same time. Fortunately, disposable vapes are recyclable, and with so many recycling programs in Australia, it’s easier than ever to recycle them. You can easily find so many retailers and businesses running recycling programs, particularly ones needed for electronic waste.

Now, it’s on you to use the vaping devices the right way and opt for the safest method to dispose them of.

Whether you are a big HQD vape fan or love vaping Mr Fog, Cheap Vape presents you with the best of brands, so you don’t need to worry about the quality.

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