"Vaping" is the act of smoking a vaping device, or ‘vape’, which includes e-cigarettes.
Vape waste creates three environmental issues:
1. Increase in single-use plastics
2. Increase in tech waste from their parts, including lithium-ion batteries
3. Introduction of hazardous and toxic chemicals like nicotine into the environment when discarded
In addition to pods potentially leaching nicotine, vaping devices can leach lead, cobalt, and other substances into the environment in toxic amounts.
The accumulation of these substances in animals, soil, and aquatic ecosystems may lead to contaminated water and food.
Many LGAs do not have easy to ready access to electronic waste return programs and the rules and eligible products for electronic waste can be confusing in a lot of communities.
It is unlikely that consumers are holding onto their vaping devices and collecting them to regularly bring them to a facility.
Without any economic incentive, formal program or mandate, people will just keep throwing them in household rubbish, or worse start littering, because it’s easier.
• Validate your position on vaping devices with your council waste team
• Check your e-waste guidelines – do they currently include vaping devices?
• Set up collection areas within existing or new e-waste collection depots
• Encourage trial collection / return depots within the LGA
• Ensure education of waste and litter teams of this emerging threat
• Communicate to residents around correct disposal of hazardous waste
• Request retailer sales reports to identify the sales volumes to better understand the potential exposure
Is vaping a better alternative for our environment?
While many articles have been published on the health impacts of vaping, only a limited number of studies have focused on the environmental impacts, which is the focus of this paper. Extensive desk reviews of published articles from academic and governmental institutions have been conducted. Firstly, this paper will provide an overview of vaping and will assess the demographics of groups who are vaping or are likely to vape. Then, it will elucidate the environmental impacts of vaping by examining the materials and substances used in e-cigarettes. Finally, the paper will consider Australia’s existing laws on vaping and propose mechanisms for vaping regulation and e-cigarette waste management.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We recognise they have cared and maintained the beautiful environment for time immemorial. We would like to pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all Indigenous communities.
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