Electronic vapes have been around for a while now and are a good way to move away from smoking cigarettes (though it may introduce other health issues). The reuseable vapes are great, you can charge them up and add whichever flavour liquid you fancy with the amount of nicotine required. However, the rise in popularity of vapes have introduced a monster with “disposable” electronic vapes or cigarettes appearing over the last year or two in a big way. These things are extremely bad for the environment then the low cost, bright colours and range of sweet flavours makes them very attractive to children. For those reasons, in my opinion, it should be illegal to make and sell these disposable devices.
I live in Greater London and at the moment I can guarentee that if you walk down any street you are very likely to find one of these devices disguarded on the pavement, in the road, on the grass verge etc. I even went for a visit to a seaside location and the beach was littered with these! On the envronmental side nobody seems able to dispose of these properly, its much easier to chuck it out of your car window or put it in the general waste than work out how to dispose of it correctly. If you do try to take it apart to recycle the various components it isn’t an easy task as we shall show below. Do they get recycled if they are put in battery recycling collection points?
The e-cigarette casings contain a mixture of plastic, rubber and metal which when broken down turn into microplastics and chemicals which pollute waterways and be bad for wildlife. The vape liquid contains various substances such as nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, and flavourings which can be toxic to the environment on their own when disguarded. The largest issue to me is the lithium-ion battery which contains hazardous substances such as lead and mercury. The lithium contained in e-cigarette batteries is not just an environmental and public health hazard when discarded, but a precious natural resource that must be conserved, reused, and recycled. The ten tons of lithium discarded in vapes yearly in the U.K. alone is enough to construct 1,200 electric vehicles. Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency estimates the world will face lithium shortages by 2025. With that in mind I’ve taken a few pictures of what is happening to these devices on our streets:
Damaged Vapes Recycled
Here are a few disposable vapes I found damaged in the road that I attempted to take apart into their recyclable components. I’ll go into various vape types and how to take them apart later on but these ones took a bit more effort than normal as the outside cases were squashed but I managed to get them apart:
How to disassemble the various types of disposable Vape
Here I have linked a new page to show you how to disassemble each type of vape so that you can break it down into components to recycle. Just a warning that the batteries can still carry an electrical charge and can be dangerous still so if you are not confident then I would recommend you put the whole thing into battery recycling rather than try to break it down yourself first.
How to dissasssemble Lost Mary or Bloody Mary disposable electronic vapes: http://junglebiscuit.com/how-to-break-down-a-lost-mary-or-bloody-mary-disposable-electronic-vape-or-cigarette/
How to dissasssemble Elfbar 600 disposable electronic vapes: http://junglebiscuit.com/how-to-break-down-an-elfbar-disposable-electronic-vape-or-cigarette-into-components/