There has been widespread positive coverage today on government plans to ban disposable vapes. The measure comes as part of the government’s response to its consultation on smoking and vaping, which was launched in October last year. Disposable vapes will be banned in the UK as part of ambitious government plans to tackle the rise in youth vaping and protect children’s health.
As well as benefitting children’s health, the ban will have a positive impact on the environment. Five million disposable vapes are thrown away each week, up from 1.3 million from last year. Over a year this is equivalent to the lithium batteries of 5,000 electric vehicles.
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said:
Not only are disposable vapes often targeted, unacceptably, at children – they also represent a huge and growing stream of hard-to-recycle waste, with nearly 5 million thrown away every week.
This historic announcement will be a powerful tool in support of our efforts to crack down on waste and boost recycling, as well as helping to create the first smokefree generation.
Libby Peake, Head of Resource Policy, Green Alliance said:
This ban can’t come soon enough, not only for the health of future generations, but also for the health of the planet. The government has followed the science, and this decision will have many environmental benefits. Valuable lithium ion batteries will stop going to waste or winding up as litter, along with all the casings that have been blighting our environment for too long. This means critical raw materials will be preserved for uses where they’re much needed – like renewable energy. The risk of fire from mishandled batteries will be minimised and dangerous plastic pollution will be prevented. This bold move by the government is nothing but good news.
Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Chief Executive of environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, said:
The announcement of a ban on disposable vapes is great news for the environment. Our surveys show that disposable vape litter has doubled in the past two years alone and last year more than 16% of the sites we surveyed were blighted by these single-use items, posing a significant risk to wildlife and polluting our streets, parks and beaches. An estimated 260 million are thrown away in this country every year, wasting precious scarce resources, including lithium.
Gavin Graveson, Veolia Senior Executive Vice President, Northern Europe, said:
When faced with an environmental crisis, every product that enters the market should be designed for recyclability. Disposable vapes are a clear example of when products have been designed with no thought for their environmental impact and should be subject to an extended producer responsibility scheme that incentivises the right eco-design.
Millions of disposable vapes have been littered causing environmental damage or thrown in bins where they cause weekly fires in recycling and waste trucks as well as treatment facilities.
We can’t afford to allow more pollution. Veolia’s recycling scheme has already recycled over one million vapes and we support policies that will curb products with no end of life treatment.