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Latest News

Over 90% of Vape Industry Fails Environmental Standards

11th June 2024

New findings from Material Focus reveal a stark reality: “over 90%” of vape retailers and producers across the UK are still falling short of environmental regulations, even as the proposed 2025 ban looms on the horizon. With Material Focus’s recent announcement on 29 January 2024, indicating a potential 12-month lead-in to the ban, the forecast is grim: at least a quarter of a billion single-use vapes are slated for disposal.

Immediate Action Required

Material Focus, a not-for-profit organisation, has issued a clarion call for “immediate action”. It highlights a critical concern: retailers and producers are neglecting their legal obligations to cover the costs of vape collection and recycling.

Extensive Research

Material Focus’s comprehensive study canvassed 764 retailers across 13 UK cities, including a spectrum from high street brands to specialist vape stores. Despite legal mandates since 1 January 2021, only a paltry “11%” offer recycling points, with vape drop-off facilities found in merely 33% of 57 specialist vape retailers. High street brands are notably deficient, providing minimal or zero recycling drop-off points for vapes.

In-depth Analysis

A meticulous analysis, scrutinising records of over 165 major vape and vape juice producers, has revealed a startling revelation: a meagre “15” have registered to comply with environmental regulations for waste electricals, portable batteries, and packaging.

Cost Implications

Material Focus’s analysis underscores the financial burden: if all “360 million disposable single-use vapes” bought annually in the UK were to be recycled by producers, the estimated cost would soar to “up to £200 million per annum”.

Responsible Collaboration

Retailers, alongside producers, play a crucial role in promoting recycling practices. This responsibility applies not only to specialised vape vendors but also to widely recognized high street retailers, newsagents, petrol stations, and convenience store chains. Their contribution to recycling initiatives is vital for environmental conservation and public welfare.

Immediate Steps Required

The limited progress observed since the previous year is concerning. Despite surging sales, the environmental consequences and expenses associated with waste vape collection and recycling have been largely overlooked. As the ban on single-use vapes looms in 2025, urgent actions are necessary to ensure the proper disposal of the anticipated quarter of a billion vapes. Establishing an efficient and accessible recycling system for new vape products, including emerging pod variations, is of utmost importance.

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