4 Easy Ways to Reduce the
Environmental Impact of Vaping
Vaping is a great thing for the smokers of the world. Switching to vaping means that you’re no longer filling your lungs – not to mention your house and car – with smoke. It also means that you’re cutting the cost of your nicotine use in half or even more.
The one thing that vaping sometimes isn’t, though, is good for the environment. Make no mistake; smoking isn’t harmless to the planet either. Cigarette butts are the most commonly discarded pieces of plastic waste, and it’s estimated that there are around 4.5 trillion cigarette butts polluting landfills, oceans, beaches and streams across the world right now. Collectively, those cigarette butts represent enormous amounts of nicotine, arsenic and other poisons.
One of the greatest things about vaping, however, is that it has the potential to do more than simply improving public health and putting more money into nicotine users’ pockets. It can also reduce the impact that nicotine use has on our environment.
For that to happen, vapers need to be more mindful about the things that they throw away. Many of the vaping products that exist – disposable vapes and pre-filled vape pods, for instance – are intended to be used only one time and then discarded. That’s an enormous environmental catastrophe waiting to happen.
There are tens of millions of vapers in the world today. Suppose that just a small percentage of them use disposable vapes. Those people need to buy new vapes every few days. If they’re discarding their devices in their standard household trash, that’s millions upon millions of lithium-ion batteries entering our landfills every year – just from vaping!
If you’re a vaper, you switched to vaping because you believed it was the best decision for your health and for your wallet. Now, it’s time to do the best thing for the planet as well. Here’s what you can do to reduce the environmental impact of vaping.
Don’t: Buy Single-Use Vaping Products
Although it’s probably inevitable that at least some of the vaping products you buy will eventually end up in your household trash, you can definitely do a lot to minimize the volume of waste that you produce by vaping. The best way to do that is by avoiding all single-use vaping products such as disposable vapes and pre-filled vape pods.
- The reason why disposable vapes are bad for the environment is probably obvious to you already. A disposable vape is hazardous waste because it contains a lithium-ion battery, nicotine, plastics, heavy metals and more. Although you may have a local e-waste facility that accepts disposable vapes, most facilities don’t because the devices are simply too hard to recycle. Most disposable vapes end up in landfills. It’s really best to avoid them entirely if you care about the environment.
- Pre-filled vape pods are similarly bad for the environment because they’re made from plastic and metal components that are extremely difficult to separate for recycling. It’s also difficult to remove the residual nicotine from the pods, so attempting to disassemble them can potentially be a dangerous proposition.
If you want to minimize the waste that you create by vaping, you need to use a vaping device that’s designed to be recharged and refilled many times.
- Ideally, you should use a vaping device with a removable battery. Many companies accept used lithium-ion batteries for recycling. Having the ability to separate the battery from the device makes it easy to recycle your old batteries without discarding the entire device.
- To minimize your environmental impact, you should use a glass vape tank rather than a device with plastic pods. Even refillable vape pods need to be replaced periodically because they’re difficult to clean. A glass vape tank, on the other hand, is easy to clean and can conceivably remain in service for several years.
Do: Clean and Reuse Your Vape Coils
Using a refillable vape tank doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re completely eliminating waste because you’ll still have to do something with all of the replacement coils you use. Vape coils often consist of multiple types of metal along with cotton and silicone. It’s unlikely that most recyclers will accept them, so your old coils will probably end up in the trash eventually.
The good news, though, is that there’s no need to throw your vape coils away after just one use. Instead, you can learn how to clean a vape coil. By cleaning your dirty vape coils, you can restore their original flavor and continue using the same coils over and over. Cleaning your old vape coils isn’t just good for the environment; it can also save you a lot of money.
Don’t: Throw Away Old Vaping Devices and Batteries
Switching from disposable vaping devices to a rechargeable one doesn’t mean that you can start discarding your old devices in the trash just because you aren’t producing the same amount of waste that you once did. All vaping devices – even rechargeable ones – are still hazardous items that don’t belong in landfills.
Hopefully, you’re selected a device with a removable battery. In that case, you can simply drop your old battery in a collection box and begin using a new one. If you have an old device with a permanent battery, though, you can still recycle it by bringing it to an e-waste facility. Some hazardous waste disposal services will also accept old vaping devices.
Do: Recycle Your Empty E-Liquid Bottles
The last thing that you need to think about if you want to reduce the waste that you generate from vaping is what you’re going to do with your empty e-liquid bottles. Luckily, e-liquid bottles are recyclable. All that you need to do is remove the nozzles, rinse the bottles and recycle them with similar plastic items according to the numbers stamped on the bottles.
The FDA also offers an alternative point of view, stating that e-liquid shouldn’t be discarded in the sink because nicotine is a water pollutant. With that in mind, you can also dispose of your used e-liquid bottles safely by placing them in a collection container for hazardous waste.