Ban disposable vapes on environmental grounds, NLWA urges


single-use vapes

NLWA (North London Waste Authority) has urged the UK government to ban the sale and manufacture of single-use (disposable) vapes on environmental grounds.

Cllr (Councillor) Clyde Loakes, chair of NLWA, has written to the Secretary of State for Environment and Minister for Environment stating that the “complex material composition” of single-use vapes means they’re “logistically difficult, labour intensive and expensive to recycle”.

Earlier this year, an analysis conducted by Material Focus indicated that 90% of the smaller vape and vape juice producers in the UK seem to be failing to comply with environmental regulations. Material Focus has also previously identified that 1.3 million single-use vapes are thrown away every week in the UK.

NLWA, which manages 3% of the UK’s total waste, highlights that vapes are a “major fire risk” due to the lithium batteries inside them and states that the nicotine they often contain is damaging to the environment.

Single-use vapes are contributing to the fastest growing waste stream in the UK.

In his letter, Cllr Loakes called on the government to show it’s “committed to preserving resources and the environment for future generations” by enforcing a ban or – at the very least – making retailers and manufacturers responsible for managing vapes once they become waste.

Cllr Loakes said: “Single-use vapes are contributing to the fastest growing waste stream in the UK, destroying vital resources and polluting our planet. While we are clear that residents should take them to one of our eight reuse and recycling centres or use a take-back scheme, these are inconsistent despite the legal obligations in place.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t have to bear the costs of recycling them, picking them up when they’ve been littered, or repairing vehicles and machinery which have been damaged by battery fires. We’re working with our contractors to see if we can set up more vape collection points – but the companies profiting should be the ones funding these.

“We must show we are serious about moving away from a dangerous throwaway culture by stopping all wasteful single-use products, especially when there are reusable alternatives so readily available.”

NLWA urging the government to ban disposable vapes follows similar calls by the Local Government Association and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

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