Veolia Introduces Groundbreaking Nationwide Vape Recycling Scheme
Veolia has launched an innovative nationwide vape recycling service, offering retailers the opportunity to sign up for an in-store customer drop-off container. The waste management company will then collect these containers, ensuring a safe and efficient recycling process for used vapes.
Riot Eliquid's Recycling Initiative
As a pioneer in the industry, Riot Eliquid had previously established a world-first recycling scheme, although its infrastructure couldn't compare to Veolia's capabilities. The introduction of Veolia's recycling service marks a significant step forward for the vaping industry in reducing waste, and Riot Eliquid wholeheartedly supports this initiative.
Minimising Fire Risks
Veolia is providing retailers with individual containers of vermiculite, a mineral that minimises fire risks associated with the lithium-ion batteries in vapes. Once collected, vapes will be taken to various specialised UK facilities for manual dismantling and component sorting. The materials will then be treated and processed for recycling.
Nationwide Drop-off Points
Participating retailers will equip their stores with drop-off points for consumers to recycle their used vapes. These drop-off points will accept any brand and any type of disposable and rechargeable vape or e-cigarette.
A Safe Recycling Avenue
Donald Macphail, Chief Operating Officer for Treatment at Veolia UK, said, "Two vapes are thrown away every second. They might be called disposable, but they can and should be recycled. Our new nationwide vape collection service will provide a safe recycling avenue to retailers who provide the mandatory take back schemes for vapes and ensure that we can extract the valuable materials contained within and mitigate any fire and environmental risks."
Demand for Vape Recycling
As a popular alternative to smoking, vapes present a significant fire risk due to their batteries, which can catch fire when processed. Research commissioned by Material Focus reveals that 1.3 million single-use vapes are discarded every week. Veolia will schedule collections based on demand from vape-selling shops that sign up for the scheme.
Veolia highlights that recycling vapes could save more than ten tonnes of lithium, which could be repurposed into new products, including batteries for 1,200 electric cars. Recycling lithium would also save up to 72 tonnes of carbon emissions compared to using raw materials, as producing one tonne of lithium from ore generates around nine tonnes of CO2 emissions.
WEEE Regulations and Vape Recycling
Vape and disposable e-cigarette disposal falls under the UK's WEEE Regulations, where vapes are classified as Category 7: Toys, Leisure, and Sports Equipment. Veolia supports the Environment Agency's intention to give vapes their own product category, as they pose unique challenges to dismantle and recycle, particularly due to the hazardous materials such as lithium and nicotine they contain.
The government is considering changes to ensure the vaping sector "plays its part" in financing the collection and treatment of their products in the upcoming review of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations.
Commitment to Reducing Environmental Impact
Industry leaders in the vaping sector are committed to not only providing means of responsible disposal but also urging vapers to refill, recharge, and reuse their vapes in preference to single-use 'disposable' products. By participating in Veolia's nationwide vape collection service, retailers and consumers alike can make a significant impact in reducing the environmental footprint of the vaping industry.
Veolia's nationwide vape recycling scheme is a groundbreaking step towards reducing waste and environmental impact in the vaping industry. This initiative is set to make a positive difference in responsibly managing and recycling vape waste. As the government continues to review the WEEE regulations, the vaping sector is demonstrating its commitment to playing a crucial role in financing the collection and treatment of its products.