New data released today by non-profit organisation The Green Wings Project reveals that a significant majority (75%) of UK vape users are improperly disposing of e-cigarettes, leading to detrimental effects on the environment as they end up in landfill.
The Green Wings Project is the first organisation to address the issues caused by waste vapes, offering recycling facilities at vape shops and festivals across the UK.
Rising Vape Pollution The research indicates that over 1.3 million disposable vapes per week are currently finding their way to landfills or incinerators, causing environmental harm. In response to their environmental impact and potential hazards, The Glastonbury Festival has added vapes to its ‘do not bring list.’
Kwok Yan Man, CEO of Green Wings Project, commented, “Vape pollution is a significant environmental problem. Single-use e-cigarettes contain valuable materials such as aluminium, lithium, and stainless steel, all of which could be repurposed, such as in car manufacturing. Moreover, they are often covered in plastic. It is crucial that used vapes are disposed of at dedicated recycling points, such as our drop-off containers in vape shops across the UK, ensuring these materials are reused rather than ending up in landfills.”
Surge in E-cigarette Popularity Vape pollution is a consequence of the soaring popularity of e-cigarettes in the UK over the past decade. Approximately 44% of young adults aged 18-24 admit to having used a vape, along with 41% of those aged 25-34 and 14% of adults aged 55+.
Vaping Epicentre in the UK The UK capital is at the forefront of vaping, with a third of Londoners having vaped, the highest rate in the country compared to just 19% in Northern Ireland.
Lack of Awareness on Proper Disposal There appears to be a lack of understanding among the public regarding the hazardous nature of e-cigarettes and the need for proper disposal. Around 42% of UK vapers are unaware that these devices contain hazardous materials, and this figure rises to 46% among women.
Only a quarter (25%) of vape users recycle their used devices, with men (28%) being more proactive than women (22%).
Unfortunately, nearly half (45%) discard their used vapes inappropriately by simply throwing them in the bin. This behaviour is even more prevalent among those aged 55+, with 49% of them opting to dispose of their vapes in this manner.
Regionally, the West Midlands has the highest number of offenders, with 62% throwing vapes in the bin, followed closely by 58% in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Green Wings Project’s Commitment Kwok Yan Man, CEO of the Green Wings Project, emphasised their mission, saying, “We are dedicated to building a cleaner and healthier world, actively seeking scientific and effective ways to recycle disposable electronic products. Our recycling solution has already facilitated the recycling of over 500,000 vapes to date, and we remain committed to expanding dedicated deposit sites across the UK, enabling the recycling of these devices and reducing their impact on the environment.”
This summer, The Green Wings Project is offering vape recycling facilities at numerous festivals throughout the UK.