Recycling your disposable vape can be a tricky process. As of right now, there are only a few options to choose from if you want to get rid of your vape in a safe, secure way. This article is meant to take a deep dive into the appropriate measures for getting rid of your vape.
We all have them sitting around our house. That one 510 thread battery that's been sitting in your junk drawer because "who knows, I may buy a cartridge soon" or they have a disposable pod system that they bought once because it was on sale, but there aren't any pods for it in circulation anymore. Whatever the process may be, you now have a number of different vape pods sitting in your junk drawer, or piling up in a shoebox and you don't know how to get rid of them.
A quick Google search may bring you a number of options, but unfortunately, those options are tied to false misnomers.
The absolute worst thing that you can do with a vape that has reached the end of its life would be to throw it in the trash. There are a number of reasons why that is:
Lithium-Ion - The biggest reason why throwing your vape in the trash is dangerous is due to the lithium-ion battery. In most cases, rechargeable vape pens contain this as their main power source. This material is extremely dangerous if left exposed to constant elements. On top of that, if the cell pack becomes worn down or damaged, it has a high chance of causing a fire.
Non-Biodegradable Plastics -Many vapes utilize single-use plastics. Unfortunately, the shelf life for these materials is extremely long and can sometimes take decades to break down.
While we all think that "recycling" our vapes is a good thing, the same rules apply when avoiding throwing them in the trash.
Recycling Centers often utilize a similar system to regular trash. The difference is that these products will be separated out into their respective categories i.e aluminum, cardboard, and plastic. If you throw in an old corrosive vape battery, then you can cause a series of problems.
We have all seen these bins at shopping centers and large retail outlets. They are designed to take printer ink and old cellphones.
One might have the idea that because of the similar qualities between cellphones and vapes you can just chuck your old pen in there, but you are wrong.
There are a few reasons why this is:
Concentrate - Due to the legal landscape of vape products, many of these are used for things other than nicotine. While nicotine remains legal, the subject of concentrates remains a schedule 1 narcotic determined by the Federal Government. Most of these recycling bins found in shopping centers cater to legal products like cellphones. While, yes there are a number of similarities between these products, single-use vape pens often have leftover materials left in the tank. If the recycling center finds these, they cannot take them.
Nicotine - While we mentioned that nicotine is a legal material in the US as opposed to other materials, it is still considered an Acute Hazard Waste. This means it is subject to a similar treatment to batteries with concentrate in them. An Acute Hazardous Waste is anything that poses a threat to human health. Nicotine poisoning currently affects a large number of people indirectly.
In order to properly get rid of your battery and get rid of that graveyard junk drawer, you need to go through your local waste management facility. Depending on your state, there are a number of facilities that you can go to. Some are specifically designed to handle the treatment of lithium-ion batteries no matter the contents!
What You Should Do Before You Drop Off Your Battery
First, remove any form of cartridge or pod that can be taken apart. This will get rid of any issues that come from the materials inside. Battery recycling centers will not take anything more than just the battery itself.
Second, If you can, remove the battery. Now, some batteries are harder to get to than others, but the more "affordable" batteries aren't that well put together in the first place. Many of them can be opened relatively easily. Make sure the battery is off before you start this process. Once you have removed the top, remove the wires. Be careful not to damage the actual battery as this can cause a fire or worse.
While the traditional methods of inhalation are still the most popular, battery-operated vapes are quickly moving up the ladder due to their ease of use and concealability.
2022 has brought a large influx of battery-operated vapes to the market, each one with a new design, shape, and function. While there are so many of these on the market, their single-use function of them is what makes them an environmental hazard and it is because of this that we need to do the responsible thing and get rid of them correctly.
If you are looking for your closest battery disposal center, you can check out this handy website here. All you need to do is add your zip code and you will be directed to the closest one to your location.