As we hear regularly, smoking not only impacts your cardiovascular health, but also the health of those around you who don’t smoke. Smoking increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.

So, what do we do about it?

In an ever-growing population of smokers, there is no feasible way to completely cut out cigarettes from daily life…the revenue it creates must also play a factor in that, right?

In recent years we’ve seen the rise of vaping; starting with rechargeable devices with a refillable tank, we’ve now moved over to single use, disposable devices. We still don’t know the in-depth health risks yet, as we do with tobacco, but generally they do seem to be a healthier solution to the nicotine addiction. While they may be more convenient for the consumer, they most definitely aren’t for the environment.

Disposable vapes typically contain a lithium-ion battery, which can cause serious fires if not disposed of correctly.

Did you know that 65% of fires in waste management facilities are caused by lithium-ion batteries?

These batteries are generally safe but have a very real fire risk. Fires can be triggered by faults inside the battery, external damage, overcharging, overheating, short-circuiting, or aging. These fires spread fast and are tough to put out.

The 1.3m disposable e-cigarettes discarded every week often end up in general waste. Research by Material Focus, a non-profit organisation which runs the Recycle Your Electricals campaign, found that more than 700 fires in bin lorries and recycling centres were caused by batteries that had been dumped into general waste. There has also been an increase in the number of disposable vapes being picked up by road sweeping vehicles, whose circular brushes usually collect leaves and stones.

The ones that aren’t caught can end up in a non-recyclable waste stream with items such as Pringles cans, plastic wrappers and disposable coffee cups. These are chopped and packed into bales, a process that can break open a lithium-ion battery, which can then easily catch fire. Many waste management companies, including A.R.Richards, offer recycling solutions for electronic waste, including disposable vapes. By recycling these devices, we can reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and help create a healthier and more sustainable future.