E-cigarette Waste and the Environment: How E-Cigarettes and Vaping Damage the Environment

by Alan Johnson on Aug 08, 2022

disposable vape recycle


How do e-cigarettes and smoking compare when it comes to environmental damage and waste?


One of the big marketing points for e-cigarettes and vaporizers is that they’re primarily considered to be a safer alternative than traditional tobacco cigarettes for people. However, what isn’t talked about very often is the environmental risk that disposable vaporizers pose or how much of an impact e-cigarettes have on the environment compared to traditional cigarettes.

In the following article, we’ll take a closer look at how smoking regular cigarettes stacks up against e-cigarettes and what risk they pose to the environment.

Disposable vaporizers pose a massive risk to the environment because they are 100% designed as a one-time-use product. You use them until they either run out of e-liquid or battery power, and then you dispose of them. As a result, we’ve seen a huge increase in the popularity of disposable vaporizers, particularly among teenagers, which is fueling the increase in sales.


Vaping VS. Smoking: Which is Less harmful to the Environment?

In this section, we’re going to look at the impact tobacco products have on the environment, the impact e-cigarettes have on the environment, and how much damage both cause.


How Tobacco Products Damage the Environment

Approximately 4.5 trillion cigarette butts make their way into landfill, the environment, and the ocean every day worldwide. They are easily one of the most abundant forms of plastic pollution worldwide.

Cigarette butts, or filters, are a man-made plastic, and when they end up in landfill or the ocean, they can up to ten years to break down. As they break down, cigarette butts release harmful chemicals and ultimately end up turning into microplastic pollution, which poses a huge threat to the environment, human health, and wildlife for decades.

Tobacco use in the United States of America is still so prevalent that it remains as the country’s biggest cause of preventable death. Americans are responsible for smoking almost 267 billion cigarettes every year. When you combine this with the common habit of throwing cigarette butts on the ground, that’s a lot of cigarette butts ending up littering the environment.


How E-cigarettes Damage the Environment

E-cigarettes are commonly marketed as a ‘safer alternative’ than traditional tobacco cigarettes. However, there is limited data to back up these claims, and we won’t know about long-term health effects for many years to come.

Disposable vaporizers were one of the first products to enter the vaping market. Cheap cigarillos were and are still available in gas stations and convenience stores. They looked exactly like traditional cigarettes, even down to a glowing red tip! However, within a few years, box mods quickly became more popular among serious vapers.

That’s all changed over the last couple of years, with many vapers making the switch to disposable pod vaporizers because of their price, size, and convenience. However, that has led us to where we are now, with millions of vaporizers being thrown away each year.

When you look at e-cigarrete waste, you need to consider that e-cigarettes are made using more materials than tobacco cigarettes. These include:

  1. Plastic Waste– Plastic waste from the plastic components used in the construction of disposable vaporizers, including the case and other components of the e-cigarettes.
  2. Electronic Waste– Electronic waste includes circuit boards, screens, and batteries. There may only be a small amount of lithium contained within a disposable e-cigarette, but it’s a precious and rare commodity.
  3. Chemical Waste– There are a variety of different chemicals used in the construction of components and e-liquids, all of which remain in the e-cigarette once disposed of.

Many materials mentioned above are 100% recyclable if the devices are taken to the correct recycling facility. However, if they’re thrown into the regular trash, all those valuable materials are entirely wasted.

Despite the fact that they contain lithium, one of the most in-demand metals in the world, millions of vaporizers are still ending up in a landfill. Currently, there is a global demand for lithium, and demand for lithium is expected to rise by five-fold in the next decade. Lithium is a common metal used in batteries.

In the United Kingdom alone, two vaporizers end up in regular landfill every two seconds. Just that amount of lithium alone is enough to make the batteries for over 1,500 electronic cars. Over 168 million of these disposable e-cigarettes are being purchased every year. The vast majority of these products are single-use or disposable. Interestingly, most of these devices contain a battery that’s rechargeable but does not have a charging port.

Pollution from e-cigarettes is mainly preventable if we as vapers take a few seconds out of our day to do the right thing. One way you can help reduce the impact disposable vaporizers have on the environment is by being an eco-friendly vaper.


Be An Eco-friendly Vaper

As an eco-friendly vaper, there are various ways you can help to minimize the environmental risk that disposable e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco products pose, including:

  1. Stay away from traditional cigarettes and tobacco products and stick with vaping.
  2. Whenever possible, make the switch from disposable vaporizers to rechargeable vaporizers which will cut down on wastage from devices being thrown away.
  3. If you do have to dispose of any e-cigarettes, vaporizers, disposable vaporizers, batteries, or accessories, check with your local waste organization to see if they have dedicated battery disposal and battery recycling areas or drop-off points. This means that the e-cigarettes will be disposed of safely, and all materials used in the construction of the e-cigarettes will be recycled correctly.


E-cigarette Waste and the Environment – Conclusion

Now you have a much clearer idea about the risk that disposable vapes pose to the environment and how those risks stack up against traditional tobacco products. As eco-friendly vapers and consumers, we can all do our part to help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill because of disposable e-cigarettes and accessories.

If you have any questions about vaping or vape liquid flavors, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us directly. Our friendly and professional sales team is standing by to assist you!


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