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June 24, 2024 3:06 am

Local News

Disposable Vapes Raise Hazardous Waste Concerns

Credit: iStock

Shanteya Hudson, Public News Service

Disposable vapes are posing a growing environmental threat in Georgia and across the country, according to a new report.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund revealed nearly five disposable vape products are discarded every second in the U.S. They are vaping devices which come already filled with liquid and cannot be reloaded.

Lucas Gutterman, campaign director for the group, said they are calling for stopping the sale of the products, due to their lack of recyclability and negative environmental impact.

“They have lithium-ion batteries that can’t be put in most e-waste take-back programs,” Gutterman explained. “The DEA which does take back most vapes, won’t take back won’t take back these disposable ones because you can’t remove the battery.”

The report said the Environmental Protection Agency also considers them hazardous waste due to the nicotine e-liquid they contain, even after disposal.

Recently the Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to nearly 200 retailers for selling unauthorized products, including brands like Elf Bar and Esco Bar, which are single-use vapes.

Gutterman emphasized advocates of tightening the rules are now looking to larger retailers to take responsibility.

“Big national chains like 7 Eleven, BP, Exxon and Chevron, all of them have had locations that are selling these unauthorized disposable vapes,” Gutterman outlined. “They should do more to make that sure all of their locations are following the law, not selling these products and holding local stores accountable.”

He added the rechargeable batteries in the disposable vapes sold each year consist of more than 23 tons of lithium. He noted if the lithium was not used for vapes, it could be used to create batteries for more than 26,000 electric vehicles.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.