The popularity of vaping has been constantly on the rise over the past few years. In 2018, the World Health Organization estimated a total of 41 million e-cigarette users around the globe. This shows how many people have chosen to use vape pens as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.
The positive impact of using vape products on health is apparent since vaping supplies do not contain harmful components like tar and carbon monoxide found in combustible cigarettes. So, vape pens are generally considered to be better for human health than traditional cigarettes. However, what could be the possible environmental impact brought upon by vaping?
In this article, find out the different ways in which vape products can affect the environment as well as the various ways to solve it.
How Vaping Impacts the Environment
Many of the vape pens in the market are disposable. This type of e-cigarette is non-rechargeable and comes with plastic cartridges that are good for single use. On average, each vape pen contains around 300 puffs. This is equivalent to about 20 or 1 packet of traditional cigarettes. Simply put, a person who used to smoke a pack daily would use 1 pen per day which in turn produces 365 plastic waste a year.
For plastics to decompose, it would need about 1000 years. This would mean that disposable vape pens will continue to pollute the environment for generations. As it is, the world is already experiencing an immense problem of plastic pollution. With nearly 300 million tonnes of plastic generated every year, the damage it causes to wildlife, habitats, and water is massive. Disposable vape pens may just add to this problem, leading to an even bigger environmental crisis.
Hazardous Chemical Waste
E-liquid bottles and pods are non-viable to recycle due to the harmful component it contains. This substance is known as nicotine, which is included in the US Environmental Protection Agency list as an acute hazardous waste. Some pens may also release battery acid and metals. That is why it is ill-advised to throw single-use cartridges and e-liquid containers in a regular waste bin. Not only can this contaminate aquatic and animal habitats but can also be dangerous for their inhabitants.
How the Effects Can Be Minimized
Reusable Vape Pens
Since most of the environmental issues revolve around the waste from disposable vape pens, switching to reusable or rechargeable vape pens may help. Reusable vape pens can last about two years, on average. Needless to say, using a reusable vape pen can contribute to a positive reduction in non-biodegradable and non-recyclable materials.
Vape Pens Disposal
Another way to minimize the possible negative effects of vape pens on the environment is to properly discard them. It is advisable to check the rules and regulations implemented in your area concerning the proper disposal of batteries and plastic. After all, proper disposal is the consumer’s responsibility.
While there are concerns regarding vape waste and its effects on the environment, it can, fortunately, be prevented. If appropriate vape pen disposal is observed, the environmental problems will be mitigated. Better procedures for waste disposal should also be implemented. Thus, regulatory agencies need to organize their regulations. This will allow waste minimization and safe recycling of vape pens in the future.