Wondering about how vaping could be more environmentally friendly? Here are some things to consider.
With an increasing number of people choosing vaping over cigarettes every day, it’s important that we combat any rumours spread by cigarette companies. One of the rumours we are hearing increasingly each day, is that e-cigarettes are bad for the environment. Don’t get us wrong: any kind of smoking or vaping is worse for the environment than simply doing nothing, but the same thing could be said for eating, driving your car, and general existence.
So… Do vapes really harm the environment? We wanted to put this rumour to bed by finding out the truth. Firstly, we will examine what risks e-cigarettes pose to the environment, then we will identify the tips you need to make your vaping choices as harmless as possible. Together we can stop climate change, one vape device at a time.
Why E-Friendly E-Cigarettes are Important?
There are a few problems that environmentalists (and tobacco firms) cite in relation to vaping and the environment. The first: that vape devices contain plastic parts. This is irrefutable. They do. The worst offenders are disposable vape devices, which are entirely throw-away. Realistically, we need to use vape devices enough times that we justify the carbon cost of their creation … we just don’t know what that number of times is yet. For example, we know you need to wear clothing a certain number of times to offset the carbon cost too, and some clothing does contain plastic.
Another issue is in the rechargeable batteries that vape devices use. These batteries require metals and components mined from the earth. Usually, a rechargeable vape device uses a lithium ion battery. These work using cobalt which must be mined from deep in the earth. Mining conditions for cobalt are rumoured to be awful in some parts of the world. We use lithium-ion in electric cars, in mobile phones, and in any other product that uses a rechargeable battery.
We also face issues over the plastic waste caused by vape juice bottles. Together, these three factors are enough to raise concerns about how environmentally sustainable our vape devices are. We are not here to deny these environmental issues. Rather, we are here to advise you on how you can play your part as a responsible vaper to help minimise the environmental cost of vaping.
Tips for More Eco-Friendly Vaping Solutions
With the environmental cost of our everyday actions more important than it has ever been before, here’s how we can mitigate the cost of vaping.
Make Sure You stay Off Smoking
Cigarettes are worse for the environment than vaping is, fact. For every bottle of vape juice used, a smoker will go through a pack or two of cigarettes. Cigarette butts are the most common plastic waste on the planet. As if plastic butts wasn’t enough of an issue, cigarette smoking is incredibly harmful, too. Someone smoking releases thousands of chemicals into the air, most of which are toxic.
That’s not even where it stops, either. Those butts soak up all those toxins and users toss them to the ground. The clog up our soil, get into the waterways, and poison the sea. The prime ingredient of cigarettes is tobacco, a crop responsible for huge swathes of dead rainforest. Cigarette manufacturing costs an estimated one tree’s worth of paper per 300 cigarettes.
Overall, continuing to smoke or switching back to smoking from vaping, will cost the whole world. Yes, cobalt mining is dangerous. No, it is not more dangerous than the soil erosion and loss of biodiversity caused by tobacco farming. Don’t switch back to cigarettes. Lithium-ion is bad but we will find scientific work arounds for it. You can’t work around formaldehyde and arsenic.
Vape With Reusable Batteries Where You Can
Vaping with a reusable battery does use lithium-ion, which uses the cobalt that miners are paid a pittance to mine. However, disposable battery operated vape devices use more plastic and have a higher carbon cost simply because they are single use.
Reusable batteries in general are hugely effective in reducing your personal carbon footprint. One Green Planet report that a reusable battery is 28 times less likely to impact global warming. It has 30 times less of an impact on air pollution and 9 times less on air acidification. Regardless of the mining process – which we can change through spreading awareness – rechargeable batteries are a safer choice for the planet.
Most vape devices that cost more than a few pounds come with rechargeable batteries. It is more worth spending the extra tenner to buy a rechargeable device, than it is to spend half that on a disposable one four times a month. Disposable e-cigarettes tend to lean towards false economy, as well as being worse for the environment.
Use Larger Format Products Where Available
Larger format products are longer lasting, more durable, and use less carbon footprint per device. The bigger the device, the bigger the battery and the longer it takes to start fading in power. Larger format vape liquids are a similar good idea. The bigger the bottle of vape juice you buy, the less plastic waste there is from your vaping habit.
You can take a look at our new vape kits products, here if you need a larger format device, or if you want to switch from disposable vapes to something suitable. Remember that pod vaping devices will use up more plastic packaging than open tank M2L devices. This is because the pods tend to hold 2 ml e-liquid or thereabouts, where bottles can hold 10 ml or even 50 ml.
Look for Local Recycling Facilities for Batteries if You Can
You can recycle more of your vape device than you think. Tech waste is a huge worldwide problem at the moment. Every person in the USA produced 46lbs of tech waste in 2019. That was a total of 6.92 million tons and that’s just one country. Tech waste is a huge problem, so don’t toss your batteries in the rubbish. Instead, take them to a local recycling facility where we can strip the parts and that cobalt can see further future use.
It's not just our vape device batteries that are recyclable, either. Once you have efficiently removed all trace of e-liquid from your vape juice bottle, you can recycle it, too. You must make sure it is clean. We will teach you how to safely dispose of leftover e-liquids below. Once you have an empty, clean bottle, you can toss it in the rubbish.
Dispose of Unwanted E-Liquid Safely
Do not rinse out your vape juice bottle. Instead, remove excess e-liquid with a piece of kitchen roll which will absorb it. Once the vape juice is fully absorbed, it should be safe to throw in the rubbish. Another way to dispose of it is to pour your old e-liquid out into kitty litter. The kitty litter will soak up all the juice and prevent the nicotine from escaping into the environment.
We do not know what the addition of e-liquid to the water table will do. Many believe that it is similar to oil, and that toxins will build up and create poisonous water if we don’t dispose of it properly. The FDA actually suggests that you take your e-liquids to a hazardous waste collection point. However, we would argue that the USA doesn’t have the same rules on the chemical content of their vape liquids as what the UK government has.
If you have thrown away your old e-liquid, have no fear. You can check out these vape juices that we currently have on sale. You should be able to find an adequate replacement for your empty bottle.
How Toxic is Vape Smoke?
Before we finish up, let’s touch briefly on the toxicity of vapour. We know that it does contain nicotine, and we know that it can contain food-grade chemicals which act as flavourings. We can attest that these chemicals are no worse than the thousands of chemicals that smoking a cigarette releases into the air. There is no scientific proof that vaping causes second hand smoking health problems like cigarettes do.
How toxic is vape smoke? Not very. Especially when compared to cigarettes. The only component within vapour that could be harmful to the environment is the nicotine. Although tobacco is harmful for the environment, and although cigarette smoke is seriously impactful, we know that vape smoke is 9 times less likely to cause air acidification, and 30 times less likely to pollute, from earlier statistics.
Ways to Vape Responsibly
When it all comes right down to it, vaping in an environmentally friendlier way is dependant on our common sense. Rechargeable products, bigger bottles, and as much recycling as possible, will all help to control the already limited damage that vaping does to the environment. As long as we pay attention to how we dispose of vape products and e-liquids, and as long as we are mindful of single use plastics, vaping can be no more impactful on the environment than using your mobile phone. Better still, future tech advances will help facilitate this, and hopefully solve the issue of the lithium-ion battery.