Disposable vapes at GBBC, Portsmouth Beach, Billy Barraclough

The problem with single-use vapes

Data from Material Focus highlights the extent of the single-use vape problem in the UK. With 14 million single-use vapes sold each month in the UK, many are ending up littered on our streets where they pollute the environment, making their way into rivers and eventually, the ocean.

As a society, we must move away from single-use products towards a circular economy, one in which refilling and reusing is the norm, rather than throwing away and polluting our environment.



single-use vapes thrown away each week in UK



single-use vapes sold each month in UK

Single-use vapes and recycling

Recycling disposable vapes is tricky, as they contain several different materials, including plastic, copper, lithium, and many more.

Because different materials are recycled separately, this means the vapes can’t just be put into one particular bin. When the materials end up in the wrong recycling bins, they contaminate the contents, meaning none of it can then be recycled. You should contact your local council to find out how best to dispose of them in your area.

If you use vapes, the best thing you can do for the environment is to switch from single-use to a reusable alternative.

You can read our policy position on disposable vapes here.

Ban disposable vapes campaign

Laura Young, environmental activist and member of our Youth Ocean Network, has been leading the #BanDisposableVapes campaign, affecting change across the UK, and especially in Scotland where 29 Scottish councils have joined her call for a ban.

Disposable vapes encourage a throwaway culture and bring more single-use plastics into our economy. It's time to see them as the nuisance they are and get them banned.

Laura Young, Youth Ocean Network member

Laura's 'vape crusade' continues, and you can keep up to date with the campaign and get involved with her work here.

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