Disposable Vapes to be banned in Scotland?

discarded disposable vapes

Not a week goes by in recent months where Disposable Vapes are not in the headlines, and sadly it’s not always for good reasons either. There’s been numerous news publications, articles from anti vaping campaigners, and other reports released condemning the use of Disposable Vapes due to them being appealing to younger teens who are not of legal age to use them, and also highlighting the fact of how damaging they are to the environment due to them being a single use, non-recyclable plastic that is littering the streets all around the world, and filling landfills up at an alarming rate.

There’s been rumours from within countries about potentially banning Disposable Vapes as a way to combat the above issues, but there’s not been any follow up to these rumours and that was until recently when one country has ordered an “urgent consultation” looking into the potential ban of Disposable Vapes, and that country is Scotland.

In this article, I’m going to take a look at the urgent review that has been commissioned by Scotland, and what this could possibly mean for the future of Disposables, not only in Scotland but around the world if the ban goes ahead as others may follow suit. Let’s take a look at this in more detail…

disposable vape thrown on street

Environmental impact of single use vapes

On January 20th 2022, the Scottish Government released a document that sent ripples through the vaping industry and that was the announcement that they had commissioned an urgent review into the environmental impacts and management of single use vapes.  

Their reasonings for this was in response to emerging concerns around the negative consequences of people using these Disposable Vapes, and the review itself when completed will inform response to this which could introduce new policies including the potential banning of Disposable Vapes.

Zero Waste Scotland have taken the reigns on this review, and they have admitted they will consider international action and experience, including any key developments from within the European Union.

The last part of that statement could spell problems for the future of Disposables as there are several other countries within the EU considering a ban on Disposables, and seeing this review from Scotland may influence them to follow suit.

However, there was other suggestions surrounding Disposables rather than a ban, such as responsible disposal options for devices that no longer function, improved product design, or more public communication designs. All of these things I’m going to break down towards the end of this article.

Ministers and Zero Waste Scotland have their say…and it’s doesn’t quite make sense

Within the review featured quotes from the Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater who was quoted to say:

“Not only are single use vapes bad for public health, they are also bad for the environment. From litter on our streets, to the risk of fires in waste facilities, there are issues which need to be addressed urgently.

“We will consider the evidence and expert advice and come forward with policy options, which could include a potential ban on single use vapes.

“In the meantime, we would urge everyone who uses these products to make sure they are disposed of properly.”

As I said, it doesn’t quite make sense in some places what Lorna Slater has said, the specific part I want to pick out being that “single use vapes are bad for public health”

This is a serious case of misinformation being spoken by Ms.Slater, as there is absolutely no scientific proven evidence that Disposable Vapes, well any vape in fact, is bad for public health.

It’s really disappointing to read a comment like that from a Government official, within an official government document, as there’s already enough bad press on vaping without the extra bits being spread on via misinformative statements being made by people in power.

I agree with all other parts of the statement that’s been made, it’s just that one sentence that really sticks out to me and it just doesn’t sit right.

It’s then followed by a statement given by Iain Gulland, who is the Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland who said the following;

“Any form of littering is an unacceptable, anti-social behaviour, that is damaging to the environment and the economy. Single-use items, like disposable vapes, are becoming an all-too-common eyesore in areas where we live, work, and socialise, and can last in our environment for years and years. Tackling our throwaway culture is a priority here at Zero Waste Scotland and we are happy to lead on this important review.”

A much more reasonable outlook on things from Mr Gulland there, stating the facts about why this review has been commissioned and no words of misinformation being told within this quote. And he’s right with what he is saying, the sheer amount of Disposable Vapes that are being discarded on the streets, parks, walkways, pathways, car parks and all other public areas is getting crazy, and is definitely an eyesore.

Zero Waste Scotland are in my opinion, the right people to be leading this review without a doubt.

Scottish Government’s correct disposal of E-Cigarettes and Vapes guide

Concluding their report, the Government have included tips on how to correctly and safely dispose of E-Cigarettes and Disposables that no longer function, which I will document below;

  • E-cigarettes or vapes should not be thrown away in general waste in order to avoid the risk of fire.
  • E-cigarettes or vapes should be disposed of at small waste electrical and electronic equipment receptacles widely available at household waste recycling centres.
  • If the batteries inside vapes are easily removable, these should be removed and disposed of in battery recycling receptacles.

However, there is a slight problem with what they have written there and it contradicts what the Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater has said in regards to Disposable Vapes being taken to waste recycling centres due to the risk of fire happening due to the fact they contain a lithium-ion battery that cannot be put under pressure else it will explode.

There’s been several videos of this taking place, as well as other documented videos of people attempting to take their discarded Disposables to recycling centres, and the staff at the recycling centre aren’t sure on how or where they should be disposed. It’s a real grey area at the moment and the sooner that there is clear and concise instructions on this, the better!


What’s going to happen next?

This review is due for completion and public release in Autumn 2023, so a little while off yet, but still the wheels are in motion which is always a good thing.

They mentioned at the beginning of the review ideas for what they want to review and I said I would go over them in more detail and that’s what I’m now going to discuss below;

Increasing access to responsible disposal options – I fully agree with this, and I’m hoping that the manufacturers of Disposable Vapes are included in providing access to responsible options being available. Not so much along the lines of “holding them responsible” as what’s been said before by some people, but access is essential as well as clarification of where these finished with Disposables can be taken to, rather than just being discarded here there and everywhere.

Improved product design – When they say improved, I’m assuming they mean dulling down the packaging and colours featured on Disposables which is what has also been previously mentioned many times before. I do agree that this could help, but I look across to cigarette packets which have had the packaging designs dulled down and still continues to be sold in the millions every year.

Elfbar have recently dulled their design down by launching a range of Disposables which are just plain white and slim design, similar to the old Cigalike design of the early E-Cigs that were introduced on to the market, which is a step in the right direction, however they continue to manufacture the original colourful Elfbars which are selling in the millions still.

New ranges of nicotine salt e-liquid have been being introduced by different manufacturers that have taken inspiration from flavours seen used in Disposable Vapes, and that’s what we have done here at Vape69. 

Vape Bar Salts is our newest range of premium e-liquids that feature flavours often seen used in Disposable Vapes, but we have put our own spin on them to make them more flavoursome and mouth watering! 10ml bottles of Bar Salts are available for just £1.69, and there’s 16 different flavours to choose from!

Public communication campaigns – Another thing I think is really essential to happen is more public communication campaigns being done to create awareness. But what really is crucial and MUST happen, is that all the information given in these campaigns is factual and accurate, and no misinformation is printed in them which can turn the public away from the idea of E-Cigarettes due to claims that are being made with no actual concrete evidence to back it up.

I’ll be keeping a close watch on the events as they unfold and will report anything that changes right here in my blogs, so keep an eye out for any updates!

SOURCE: Environmental impact of single-use vapes – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

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