Scottish Government commissions review of single-use vapes

Meanwhile, Exeter-based waste management company Devon Contract Waste (DCW) has launched a disposable vapes recycling service for businesses in the south west of England.

Fourteen million single-use vapes are bought each month, according to Material Focus, the not-for-profit organisation funded by the WEEE compliance fee, while 1.3 million are thrown away every week.

The Scottish Government says its review, which will start before the end of January and environmental NGO Zero Waste Scotland will lead, will consider international experience and action, including any key developments in the European Union.

The review will inform potential policy responses, the Scottish Government says, which could include a ban of the products. Other approaches could include increasing access to “responsible” disposal options, improved product design or public communications campaigns.

Lorna Slater, Scotland’s circular economy minister, said: “Not only are single-use vapes bad for public health, they are also bad for the environment. From litter on our streets, to the risk of fires in waste facilities, there are issues which need to be addressed urgently.”

Iain Gulland, Zero Waste Scotland’s chief executive, added: “Single-use items, like disposable vapes, are becoming an all-too-common eyesore in areas where we live, work and socialise and can last in our environment for years and years. Tackling our throwaway culture is a priority here at Zero Waste Scotland and we are happy to lead on this important review.”

Zero Waste Scotland will fund the review through their existing Scottish Government grant.

South west

Elsewhere, in an expansion of the firm’s existing waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recycling service, DCW will provide businesses with two 23-litre caddies to allow them to collect the plastic casing and the small wire inside the vape separately from the lithium-ion batteries.

DCW says many of its existing customers have already signed up to its vape recycling scheme (picture: DCW)

DCW says it will collect both bins together to keep carbon emissions from vehicles to a minimum.

The company says it will send batteries in bulk to be recovered and recycled by a specialist firm based in Manchester.

Clean plastic will go to DCW’s plastics reprocessing arm, DCW Polymers, to be made into furniture, while plastic that may contain persistent organic pollutants will be incinerated. The ash produced from this process will then be used in the building industry, DCW says.

DCW’s disposable vape recycling service is available to businesses in the south west for £65 plus VAT for both containers.

The company says many of its existing customers, such as retailer My Vape in Newton Abbot and the Guildhall Shopping Centre in Exeter, have already signed up to the scheme.

Valuable materials

Established in 1989, DCW provides recycling and waste management services for mixed commercial waste, confidential waste, WEEE, paper and cardboard, plastics, green waste, food waste, clinical waste, hazardous waste and glass.

The company operates across St Austell, Plymouth, Exeter, Taunton, Devon, Torbay, South Hams and Torquay.

Simon Almond, DCW’s managing director, said: “Many don’t realise that these single-use vapes can actually be recycled and it’s important that the materials are recovered as they can be dangerous to the environment if they end up in landfill.

“At DCW, we realise the importance of recovering WEEE. The materials found in electrical waste are incredibly valuable but unfortunately, not enough is being done on a global scale to recycle electronic items.

“By extending our WEEE recycling service to include disposable vapes, we hope to make a difference here in the south west.”


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