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Recyclability of Disposable Vapes: A Path Forward for Smoke Shop Retailers

The vaping industry is leading the way, not just in terms of technology but also in its commitment to environmental sustainability. A study conducted by Waste Experts, commissioned by vape producer ANDS, has brought to light significant information regarding the recyclability of single-use vapes. It underscores the role that smoke shop retailers can play in championing environmentally-friendly disposal solutions.

The Recyclability Breakdown

Two distinct single-use vape products were analyzed in the study:

Product A is a prevalent single-use plastic and aluminum vape.

Product B is a new cardboard-based product by ANDS.

Here’s what the study found:

  • 80.09% of the material in Product A is recyclable, while 74.78% in Product B is recyclable.
  • An impressive 99.3% of Product B is either recyclable or recoverable, compared to 97.6% for Product A.
  • Product B outshines in terms of reduced landfill waste, with only 0.7% being sent to landfill, compared to 1.15% for Product A.

When it comes to dismantling, Product B is quicker, taking just 90 minutes for 250 units versus 210 minutes for Product A. It has a simpler design with seven components compared to Product A’s eleven.

Stewart Price from Waste Experts emphasized that both products display “a strong recyclability performance.” He also highlighted some challenges. The presence of hazardous materials like e-liquid containers and lithium batteries in vapes requires them to be manually dismantled. This makes the process more expensive and demands the expertise of skilled personnel. The study also identified the limited options for recycling plastic wrapping and the treatment considerations for used vapes that might have deteriorated over time.

The Environmental Stakes

If not disposed of correctly, components of single-use vapes can negatively affect our environment for decades. Discarded vapes on streets and in public spaces are becoming an all-too-familiar sight. As stewards of the environment, we must counteract this trend.

The Role of Smoke Shop Retailers

As retailers, you’re at the forefront of this issue. You can make a meaningful difference by promoting and providing recycling solutions for disposable vapes in your shops. Here are some actionable steps you can take:

In-store Collection Points: Set up dedicated bins or collection points in your store for used vapes. Collaborate with recycling agencies to ensure these are disposed of responsibly.

Educational Initiatives: Train your staff to inform customers about how improperly discarded vapes have an environmental impact. Offer pamphlets or brochures outlining the importance of vape recycling.

Rewards for Recycling: Incentivize customers to return used vapes. Offer discounts or loyalty points for every returned device.

Sell Sustainable Products: Stock more of the environmentally friendly options like Product B, which has a good recyclability percentage and is easier to dismantle.

Host Recycling Events: Periodically, host events or drives dedicated to collecting and recycling old vape products. Giving a discount on a new vape when a customer recycles a used one is a win-win.

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