Reconomy to offer new recycling service for disposable vapes

Reconomy, a leading global circular economy specialist providing sustainability technology, data, and services to a broad range of industries, has launched a new recycling capability for disposable vapes.

It is estimated that 1.3 million disposable vapes are thrown away every week in the UK (67.6 million a year) via waste methods that are unable to mitigate the environmental risks associated with the hazardous material composition of single-use vapes.

These disposable vapes contain plastic, copper, and lithium batteries which not only make them extremely difficult to recycle but the highly flammable nature of lithium batteries has also caused fires in bin lorries and injured workers at waste processing centres.

Reconomy’s new service offers its customers a safe and sustainable alternative, enabling the circular disposal of old vapes by providing dedicated waste containers that are collected and transported to a recycling facility. The vapes are then sorted by hand into different brands before batch processing.

Following this, the end of the cap is removed and the contents of the vape are ejected and separated so that the valuable plastics and metals can be appropriately processed and recovered. The batteries are sent to an Approved Battery Treatment Operator or Approved Battery Exporter for recycling and the wick, filter, and nicotine are incinerated as per The Environment Agency’s requirements.

The service is complimented by the Vape Takeback Scheme offered through Valpak by Reconomy which provides the 2,000+ vape retailers in the UK with a fully compliant collection and recycling service. It allows retailers to provide a container for customers to return their single-use vapes and transports the vapes to a recycling facility for material recovery, re-use, and end-of-life treatment.

David Seal-Yates

Reconomy’s Head of Circular Solutions, said:

“Vapes have become a major threat to the environment and pose a dangerous fire risk, so we need to manage their disposal urgently. Reconomy’s new recycling capability will address these issues, helping our customers and the wider environment by ensuring lithium and other harmful materials contained within disposable vapes aren’t finding their way to landfill sites.

“We’re very excited about this new service and its ability to reduce the environmental impact and fire risk posed by disposable vapes. Alongside our Vape Takeback Scheme offered through Valpak by Reconomy we now have a complete proposition to support the end-to-end transformation and recovery of disposable vapes.”